Marcus Clarke

BBV HS2

From the Royal Engineers to Logistics Manager

Marcus served 26 years in the Royal Engineers, finishing his military career in 2022 as a WO2. He was a Project Manager within the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) community, responsible for projects trialing new equipment/techniques. Liaising with civilian/military and international companies in delivering their products/techniques to the wider EOD community safely.

A typical day during service consisted of liaising with project teams to deliver products/techniques, and prep them for trials; including time on demolition ranges trialing equipment and Render Safe Procedures (RSPs), finished off with writing up the findings and results before publishing them to the EOD community.

As a Royal Engineer, Marcus’ trade was a bricklayer and concreter, these skills introduced him to the construction sector, enabling him to work around the world building schools, protective works, bridge abutments and roads. He also invested greatly in himself by obtaining a range of qualifications including leadership and management skills ILM Lvl 7, Coaching and Mentoring ILM Lvl 5. These skills have allowed Marcus to interact and communicate with a wide range of people and ranks from around the globe to achieve his project aims and goals.

Marcus’ current role as Logistics Manager Sub Lot 2a for Balfour Beatty Vinci HS2 Joint Venture was obtained through the support of the BuildForce mentoring programme. His mentor communicated regularly through Teams, and was interested in his progress throughout his transition, providing critical advice on moving forward as well as valuable courses to support his career change. Attending work placements as arranged by his mentor, provided Marcus with a better understanding of the HS2 project and further networking in the relevant fields of interest. His mentor supported him through to the interview stage in a role he felt his skillset was best suited, resulting in Marcus’ current job.

BuildForce was Marcus’ greatest support throughout his transition, the programme provided him with advice and knowledge of the construction sector; in addition to their online virtual events, offering employment opportunities and interviews with other ex-military personnel with similar pathways into the construction sector. CV advice and interview technique support was also provided and the Mentor match was the conduit to Marcus’ employment.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 was Marcus’ greatest challenge resulting in him losing a year of resettlement due to everywhere being closed or locked down, which meant his resettlement commenced in his last 8-10 months in the army. He also wishes he’d heard of BuildForce earlier as the stress and worry of leaving the military was reduced once he fully understood the support BuildForce offered.

Marcus’ current role as a Logistics Manager is so varied that every day is different; from liaising with civilian companies to dealing with County Councils and multiple agencies to dealing with all the teams that make up HS2. He ensures BBV are compliant with government legislation regarding HGV and abnormal loads, deliveries to and from sites and any routes that are used by construction traffic, whilst also dealing with complaints and providing solutions to problems that may arise across his 20 sites.

A typical day starts by responding to overnight emails and then attending meetings in person or virtually dependent on the discussion. Marcus collaborates with the delivery teams daily to forecast the weekly plan, months or years ahead to ensure they have everything they need, anticipating any shortfalls or problems. Where required, he will carry-out site or route inspections to support his updates and enable him to write the Core Logistic Plans (CLPs).

Marcus’ key transferable skills are soft skills; being able to engage with people from all departments and articulate what needs to be done. Planning and forecasting are critical as well as problem solving, although his job is not too dissimilar to what he was doing in the military. A good understanding of IT, and a willingness to learn and adapt and remain flexible are all traits he has learnt in the military which are adaptable to the civilian work place.

Marcus’ advice to someone leaving the Armed Forces and seeking a new career in construction is:

“Obviously use the tools and resources BuildForce has to offer, understand what your strengths are and the areas in construction you would like to work in. If you are unsure then get on as many work placements in different areas as possible until you find the one that interests you most. Do not sell yourself short, you will be amazed how much you have to offer civvy street.”

And three words to describe a career in the construction industry?

“Exciting (size of HS2 project), Changing (every day is different), Developing (I learn every day).”