Darren Wilks

Facilities Management Division, BJF Group

From Royal Artillery Warrant Officer to Electrician

After a 23 year service in the Royal Artillery as an Air Defender, Darren decided it was time to hang up his boots and find his next career. During his service, Darren was employed as the senior soldier for a Trials and Development Unit specific to the Royal Artillery. A typical day would see him collating data and proof reading trial reports prior to dissemination to the requested user or chain of command. He also managed and directed the welfare and discipline of a team of eleven soldiers to ensure effective and timely delivery of projects.

Darren has a vast array of skills which he gained during his service, such as; time management, confidence, management qualifications (CMI), communications (oral, written) and IT. He feels his military career skilled him in various leadership appointments which led him to a successful career within the Armed Forces. Darren secured his role as an Electrician for Facilities Management Division, BJF Group through attending BuildForce’s Armed Forces insight day in Manchester. This lead to a conversation with one of BuildForce’s Alliance partners, who then further connected him to a local company and following a successful interview secured his next chapter.

During Darren’s transition, he found a clear plan and timeline was required, researching relevant courses and gaining qualifications in order for him to obtain employment. He carried out extensive research into his chosen discipline, engaging with all networking opportunities. However he found the employers’ slow and often lack of response challenging and not something he was accustomed to during his years in service.

In Darren’s new role, he will carry out a vast array of jobs, including, changing light bulbs, through to installing 3 phase distribution boards. He feels skills such as problem solving, time management, communications and using a methodical approach are skills directly transferrable from his military career and will facilitate his new role.

When asked what advice he would give to those leaving service to seek a career in the construction sector, he replied:

“Do not leave everything to the last safe moment, courses may take longer than expected. If possible gain on the job experience, I found a willingness to work for free in the first instance carried me a long way in the eyes of an employer.”

And finally, what 3 words would you use to describe a career in the construction industry?
“Rewarding, Exciting, Satisfying!”