From the Parachute Regiment to Assistant Site Manager

Morgan Sindall

Jack Dean served in the Parachute Regiment for a little under 8 years, leaving with the rank of Lance Corporal in 2023.  Jack advised “I was a 2ic of a section of paratroopers. I assisted the section commander in running the team, stepping up to Section Command when needed.  I was also a Company level Physical Training Instructor taking and leading sessions in physical training, battle PT, aiding in the development of soldiers conditioning.  In the paras we were busy. On camp we’d either be conducting post-exercise administration with weapons, kit and equipment, or gearing up for an exercise, increasing training intensity.

This has stood me in good stead to make the transition to Assistant Site Manager with Morgan Sindall.  Leaving home at 19 year old, being thrown into a group of lads from all over the country, people you’d never cross paths with, and then having to gel quickly to work as a team, speaking to different people with different mindsets and ideas – have all been very valuable traits I have been able to use in my new role as a Site Manager.  Kathleen Cargill organised my work placement with Morgan Sindall which helped me get my foot in the door and get noticed.  My typical day at Morgan Sindall starts around 0720.  I spend 20-30 minutes going through emails. I’ll then go out to the Supervisors of the subcontractors and talk to them about the day ahead, asking them what they might need from me i.e., permits to work etc, which sets up for the days works. Each day is very different but there will be daily tasks, such as issuing of permits to work, health and safety, quality inspections.

The skills I gained while in the military such as effective communication & accountability: being able to convey information and deliver it so that all people understand and understanding the repercussions when they don’t and my role as a PTI gave me the confidence to stand in front of large groups and give direction – easily transferred into my current role.

I found going from working in a very tight-knit team to quite fragmented teams where you will find most of that team are off-site quite challenging. That and not knowing how well I was doing: in the military you are constantly receiving feedback, so you know exactly where you are with your progression.  I’ve found physical training to be the best solution to a stressful day. Finding time and energy can be hard though!

My advice to someone leaving the Armed Forces to pursue a career in construction would be to accept the change, understand you will feel overwhelmed with an incredible amount of new knowledge coming at you thick and fast, and it is okay to not know what is going on until you understand the whole new language. Play on your military service, most people in construction see that as a positive so use it as a talking point and get to know everyone on and off site. Networking skills are important as you no longer work in a “do as I say” world.  The support BuildForce gave me during my transition was invaluable. Lean on them to guide you.

To describe a career in the construction industry in three words would be exciting, challenging and stressful.”