From The Corps of Royal Engineers to Senior Project Manager


Shaun Mayland served in the Royal Engineers for 35 years leaving with the rank of Major.  Shaun advised “before I retired from the Royal Engineers, I was a Sub-Unit commander, the last of several posts as twelve year LE officer covering G1, G4, G3 and G7 functions. Prior to this I was a full career soldier originally traded as a plant operator mechanic before moving into more managerial positions.

My most recent role involved email triage then email action, meetings if needed, troop visits, physical training, then possibly planning activity and finishing off with some HR/MS admin.  The army teaches you a lot of transferable skills such as collaboration, objectivity, understanding of priorities, recognising, and adhering to deadlines, teamwork, moral courage, integrity, sense of humour.

Some of the things I struggled with during my transition included the loss of kudos and feelings of imposter syndrome.  Losing my immediate support network was also difficult and, feeling like I’d outgrown my usefulness.  I also worried that my military formed personality might not fit the modern civvy workplace.

I now work as a Senior Project Manager, for Jacobs. I first engaged with Jacobs at the BuildForce Insight Day. BuildForce provided mentor support and helped me rewrite my CV, which was a gamechanger, and secured and secured the role. My advice would be keep looking ahead, saying yes to opportunities to network. Not blinkering my outlook really helped me, as did having a certain level of humility.  I now oversee ten Project Managers, all of whom, have three/four projects to manage themselves.  I also provide oversight, advice, guidance, and protection, while also setting standards, targets and conducting HR functions.

A typical day for me can be quite varied but usually includes email triage, meetings, face to face, coffee catch ups, site visits, written work, and HR activity.  This involves judgement, stakeholder management, time management, emotional intellect, conflict resolution, presentational abilities, forward planning, public speaking. All were moulded in my military career.  Know your worth, but do your research, you can outbid yourself as much as undersell.  Most ‘civvy’ organisations don’t know the difference between a Sgt and a Brigadier, and they are subsequently unlikely to understand or be impressed by your war stories.

The construction industry is complex, collaborative, and based on sound planning which is why a career in construction is solid choice for anyone from the military.