From Infantry Warrant Officer to Senior Programme Manager

Turner & Townsend

Adam Backhouse served as an Infantry Soldier in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers for over 26-years, leaving in March 2023. “My last 3 roles were as Regimental Sergeant Major, at Mission Training and Mobilisation Centre 2016-18, RMAS 2018-19, Land Command Staff College 2019-2023. My last role as RSM LCSC, was to provide the 1* command with senior soldier advice and lead on overseas deployments to Ft Leavenworth, Kansas, for the bi-annual interoperability exercise, with the US ARMY Command and General Staff College. Whilst in my later posts, I gained experience in both project and programme management and stakeholder management. Throughout my career I honed the soft skills that help within the industry, such as problem solving, negotiation and people management.”

Upon leaving the Army, Adam secured a role as a Senior Programme Manager with Turner & Townsend. “I secured this role through contact with the BuildForce programme. After registering, I was assigned a mentor, who was by coincidence from Turner & Townsend, they also submitted my CV for Programme Management roles.  In terms of what aided my success, I would say having the mindset that things are going to be different, and I was lucky enough to be in a post that allowed for an extended transition.  The more challenging parts of transitioning I faced was getting my foot in the door, and editing my CV to align with to the job role I was applying for. During the transition process, I wish I had the offer of a mentor a lot sooner. It would be a great addition to the CTP resettlement process if they offered the same service as BuildForce.

As for the day job, I am currently the lead Project/Resource Manager for the Optimisation and re-generation of Portsmouth Naval Base, as part of a larger programme to future proof the Royal Navy. A typical day runs 0800-1630, but these times are not set. Some days, I will have to travel to Portsmouth, Bristol, or my head office in London. I can deliver from anywhere, but naturally you choose the best location based on where you can impact most. The start of the day is always a diary check to ensure nothing is missed or required to be deconflicted, I’d say that most days 40% of the time is taken up by meetings, these can be led by myself, or invited by others. The remainder of the time is split 50/50 with delivering product to the client or main office and networking (think tea & toast within the mess) with key stakeholders to enable your work strands to move on.

As for my military skillset, I use everything. Every skill that I have learnt and developed during my military service is brought into my daily work. The ability to adapt to a changing environment, presentation skills, the ability to communicate clearly, to shoot straight (no nonsense & truthful approach) or navigate around the issues and find solutions and everything in-between. These are skills that have been developed whilst serving and once you identify the appropriate way of using those skills in civi street, everything is transferable to some level.

Advice I would share with others leaving the Armed Forces, don’t think of construction as only building houses. There are so many opportunities across the vast spectrum that the construction sector. I never saw myself being in the construction industry and I still don’t, the fact that I have so many opportunities to work in differing construction areas is a real draw to T&T.

Three words to describe a career in construction are: engaging, interesting and opportunity. To describe a Veteran, I’d say adaptable, approachable, and ambitious.