From the Royal Engineers to Assistant Project Manager
Danny spent thirteen and a half years in the Royal Engineers from 2006 – 2020, finishing his service as Corporal.
Danny’s main role whilst serving was as an Equipment Fitter; responsible for the maintenance, servicing and repair of all engine driven plant equipment used by the Royal Engineers. He was also employed as a Permanent Staff Section Commander at 1 Royal School of Military Engineering where he was responsible for the duty of care of trainees, undertaking their initial trade training as well as assisting the civilian instructors with the delivery of trade specific lessons. Danny’s final posting was to Recruiting Group as an Outreach Team Leader.
A typical day for Danny in the RE, included supervising a multi-cap badge team with the delivery of career presentations in schools and colleges, attending career fairs and presenting 5-day work experience opportunities. Danny goes on to explain the skills he learnt during his military career:
“One of the key skills I gained whilst serving, was learning how to adapt quickly when a situation changes. Every veteran would have experienced a situation during their career where they had to think quickly on their feet to overcome a problem and find a solution. I found this skill particularly useful moving into a new industry and I believe it allowed me to adjust much quicker and make my overall transition from solider to civilian much smoother.”
Danny was initially taken on as a Trainee Site Supervisor but now works as an Assistant Project Manager for Osborne Construction. He gained his current position through networking, his CV was passed onto HR by a friend who worked in recruitment, which then led onto a few phone calls with the Senior Manager, who in turn offered him the position.
In Danny’s transition to civvy street, he felt the mentor BuildForce sourced of the same rank and branch was most helpful as they were able to provide examples of the options available and further advise which transferrable skills were most important. The biggest challenge for Danny was Covid- 19 as it meant face to face meetings and placements were not possible, limiting job opportunities to someone new to industry as well as fewer vacancies.
Danny would have liked more exposure to relevant companies/programmes such as BuildForce:
“I stumbled across Buildforce by pure chance on social media and having now experienced first-hand the fantastic work they do, it would be good to see more people pointed in their direction during resettlement.”
Danny’s current role involves working under the Project Manager and alongside the rest of the site team, ensuring timeframes are met, issues are dealt with in a timely manner, monitoring the overall project programme and administrative tasks: producing and reviewing method statements, risk assessments and other task specific paperwork. From Danny’s experience so far, no two days are the same, making his job so much more appealing.
The skills most transferrable from Danny’s thirteen plus years of service which are utilised in his current role are time management and the ability to work under pressure:
“Project deadlines can be as important in the civilian world as they are in the military, so being able to bring both of these skills across has been a huge benefit to me so far. Man- management almost goes without saying, the ability to not only manage people but understand how to get the best out of somebody, is a skill that all soldiers, regardless of rank, can perform and I believe is one of the best skills veterans will bring to any company”
Following on from this, Danny’s advice to someone leaving the Armed Forces and seeking a new career in construction is to never underestimate the support ex-veterans are willing to offer. Networking is key in building as many connections as possible; building on this network and using every opportunity to impress. Danny was lucky enough to secure his role after a few phonecalls with no formal interview process but he treated every conversation as an interview. There’s no such thing as just a quick chat over the phone or an informal meeting for a coffee, so ensure you do your research and make sure you are always prepared to show off what you can bring to the table.
Finally, Danny would describe a career in construction as: “Fast-paced and challenging, but rewarding.”