From The Royal Engineers to Project Management Consultant

Mott MacDonald

Jake Archer served in the Royal Engineers for over 8-years, leaving in 2023. “I was a fitter within the RE, a bit of a jack of all trades in mechanical engineering, trained to fix vehicles, heavy plant machinery, pumps and generators. Later specialising as a utilities and petroleum (U&P) fitter which involved designing, building and training operatives on bulk fuel installations and water treatment sites. My most recent role was aiding in the running of a fitter section within a REME Light Aid Detachment (LAD), a workshop for a variety of vehicles and machinery. I was also a health and safety advisor which utilised a lot of my day-to-day. When a U&P project came in, my team and I would evaluate the site, draw up plans and design a work schedule listing the activities and deliverables required”

Jake’s current role is Assistant Project Manager at Mott Macdonald, Jake secured this role “through consistent and constant progress in my resettlement period, whether that was getting in touch with BuildForce who have been invaluable in securing employment or trying to expand my network and talk to people who have been through the same process.”

“My greatest challenge was deciding on where to start. I had decided a year or two before leaving I wanted to go into the construction sector and into project management, but I didn’t know how to begin, what qualifications I should focus on, translating military experience into civilian, who to speak to. Interms of what helped most, BuildForce and my network, at the beginning of the transition I was new to LinkedIn, networking and hadn’t looked at my CV in close to a decade. Through talking to people at career events I got a better understanding of the direction I wanted to go in and how to get there. It has been truly astounding the amount of support that’s out there and the willingness of people to help. It takes a bit of personal drive but is entirely worthwhile. There is so much help and advice out there it can sometimes be overwhelming and tricky to wade through, making it difficult to find what’s right for you. Unfortunately, the military can’t always offer the best advice for this stage as there are so many people with unique needs. I think some concise beginner friendly advice in an easily accessible location showing what is available and how to go about getting it would help a lot of people.”

“My day job I’m an Assistant Project Manager within the Advisory and Programme Delivery unit. Which helps in delivering management services to all the sectors that Mott Macdonald operate in; my sector is Defence and Energy. I’m new to my role and as such am still learning the ropes, so currently a lot of calls and getting to understand the company and how they do things. I’m currently helping on some interesting taskings whilst I wait for my next project to begin.”

Military skills Jake uses in his day job “communication without a doubt, I believe it is fundamentally the most important skill in the military and I think that carries well into the private sector. It has aided me in immediately building good working relationships and helps in learning in a new role. Teamwork at any level and in any role is vital and I believe being able to work collaboratively within the military has set me up for work in the construction industry extremely well. There is also an unrelenting can do, not taking no for an answer attitude ex-services have that is often very valuable in the civilian world.”

“The advice I would give to those leaving, register with BuildForce. Also speak to as many people as possible, research companies you’re interested in and more than likely there is already a veteran working there or even a veteran community. There have been a lot of people walk the journey ahead of you, so utilise that experience and reach out.”

Jake advised the three words to describe a career in construction as “fulfilling, worthwhile and interesting. Description of veterans to civvy employers would be motivated, reliable and skilled.”