Megan Porter served in the Corp of Royal Engineers, serving for 6-years, attaining the rank of Captain, leaving earlier this year. Whilst in the Royal Engineers, Megan held various roles “I held several roles out of training. Firstly, I was a troop commander within an Armoured Engineer Regiment and spent time in Estonia, Canada, and Germany with my Battlegroup. I then moved into Corps Recruitment, leading with getting suitable young officers into the Corps to lead our soldiers. This included engagement events prior to candidates joining as well as events at RMA Sandhurst. After this I moved back to Armoured Engineering and became the Regimental Training Officer, working within a small team of Senior NCOs to deliver high quality and safe training for the Regiment. During this time, I also acted as the Regimental Operations Officer during a deployment to Op CABRIT and as the Officer Commanding of a Combined Rear Operations Group of around 120 personnel.”
A typical day for Megan “as Training Officer, a typical day involved the normal drum beat of Regimental activities: PT, mess life and command groups. In addition, a proportion of the day would be allocated to advising others within the Regiment on their training activities as well as planning larger scale training events such as mounted gunnery or section competitions. I also worked closely with the Operations team and Brigade HQ to plan and assure any training or competency required prior to deployment, as well as forecasting out long term training plans for critical qualifications.”
With regards to the key skills from Megan’s time serving “adaptability – during my last role, I was called upon several times at short notice to cover other roles which were more senior to my own. As we do, I adapted to each role, learned the requirements and leant on the team around me to deliver for the Regiment wherever I was working.”
Megan’s current role is a Recruitment Diversity Manager, with Kier, “we are a leading provider of construction and infrastructure services, with projects all across the UK. My role involves running programmes to attract diverse candidates into our industry. This includes those from an Armed Forces background, but also those who are leaving the prison system, candidates who have Refugee status as well as attracting those back to the industry who may have had a career break. It is hugely rewarding, and I get to work with a lot of people, both inside our business but also with external organisations and candidates themselves.”
Megan secured her role with Kier “through BuildForce, I took part in a military placement with Kier for a week. I loved the company, but realised I did not want to be in an on-site role. I commenced a role as a Project Manager elsewhere but found that it was too far from the fast paced environment I had gotten used to. I got back in touch with Kier to explore opportunities that had a people focus and managed to secure this role – which I love! I work predominantly from home but enjoy 1-2 days a week at various events or team days – either with Kier or with outside organisations such as the Prison Service, Military organisation or industry events. On a typical day, I work to help match up our candidates with roles in the business, getting to know them to aim for a positive outcome all round. In addition, I plan our team strategy going forward – creating or improving processes, promoting the work we do and ensure that the team is resourced appropriately (in terms of time, budget etc).”
Megan’s advice to anyone leaving the armed forces and seeking a career in construction is “speaking with different companies and their employees about the reality of working somewhere. I feel like you have to really be able to visualise how you will fit and this was the best way for me to achieve this. I feel it is easy when leaving the military to follow the crowd and accept a role based on what it offers on the surface (pay, working patterns etc), without comparing it in detail to your own values and what makes you tick. In addition, it is important to remember that your first job leaving the military does not have to be ‘the one.’ It can be a stepping-stone, an opportunity to learn by doing or simply a chance to see what is a good fit for you. In the military, we like to get things right first time which can create a lot of self-induced pressure when leaving the forces.”
Military skills Megan uses in her day job “communicating clearly, no matter who to. I think in my role, putting people at ease and building relationships quickly is vital. In the military, we are always around new people, changing roles, managing new people etc so it is second nature to do this well. Planning. The military loves a plan, even if it changes! So, I always try to plan out the next week/month/ quarter to ensure that we are working towards achieving the end result and prioritising well.
Megan advised the three words to describe a career in construction as “Growth (we are a big industry and there are plenty of opportunities for professional development). Varied (so many different roles, which will mean different things to different companies). Important (construction is vital to building sustainable infrastructure, which society relies on every day!). Best way to describe a veteran to an employer resilient, adaptable and capable.”