From Royal Marines Commando to HS2 Assistant Logistics Manager
Dewet spent 12 years in the Royal Marines from 2006 – 2018, finishing at the rank of Corporal. As a General Duty marine serving in an Armoured Support Unit, Dewet provided armoured support to ground troops in the desert and arctic environments. He then moved into a logistical role as a Stores Accountant, which included providing logistical support to ground troops in the UK, overseas operations and a posting in a British Indian Ocean Territory. He finished the last three years of his military career as a General Duties Marine, providing close protection for UK Defence nuclear material and assets.
A typical day in the Marines, included being able to provide protection for the movement of sensitive defence equipment, to enable UK Defence activity in the UK and across the Globe. Dewet had responsibilities which included planning, coordinating and delivering specialist driving courses to maintain the required levels of drivers that were needed for specific job roles. He also ensured that the resources were used wisely, and all legal compliances were met. Other roles included; coordinating the forward and reverse logistics movements of personnel and material during operational movements and training exercises.
Whilst serving, the main skills Dewet gained were:
These transferrable skills are used daily in Dewet’s new role as Assistant Logistics Manager for Eiffage Kier Ferrovial Bam (EKFB) HS2 JV (Joint Venture). He secured this role through BuildForce’s mentoring process which then lead him to apply for the role on the organisation’s recruitment portal.
However, he was still faced with a few challenges during his transition, and felt the career fairs were too generic with lots of information on too many different areas, with no real focus on any specific area. Instead, he would have found more direction on how to secure work placements whilst still serving more beneficial to a smoother transition.
In Dewet’s new career, he is working as part of a team responsible for delivering scalable and holistic logistics, security and support functions to enable construction across two areas within an 80km stretch of the HS2 construction project. He plays a pivotal role in supporting the logistic operation within an assigned area, carrying out a wide variety of tasks related to planning, managing, supervising, and coordinating operational support activities. Other roles and responsibilities include:
A typical day involves liaising with stakeholders from various teams, acting as a link between the Operational Support Team doing the planning and procurement of items and logistical support and the Construction team doing the planning and building on various compounds to assets along the construction route.
Key skills learnt during his military career which he now utilises in his role with HS2 are clear communication; methodical approach to solving problems; not being scared to speak up; and planning and time keeping.
When asked what advice Dewet would give to someone who is leaving the Armed Forces and seeking a new career in construction, he replied:
“Work experience is the most valuable, if you can get some time with a Construction company. Buildforce is perfectly suited and connected with the major construction companies to be able to organise this. Use your leave if you are still in the forces and don’t be afraid to look at roles which may seem out of your skill range; you would be surprised by just how many life skills you do have that can be utilised in the construction industry. Coming from an infantry background, I was under the impression the only role I would be able to do is manual labour, but connecting with people in the industry highlighted the opportunities available and changed my outlook greatly.”
And finally, 3 words, he would use to describe a career in the construction industry:
challenging, exciting and rewarding.