From The Royal Logistic Corps to Senior Consultant

Turner & Townsend

Gavin Auton-Shelton served in The Royal Logistic Corps for 15-years, leaving as a Captain, in 2018. Whilst serving Gavin was a “Logistics Officer, predominantly focused on global logistics operations, supporting the Army’s supply chain operations both home and abroad, in peacetime and during operational deployments. I attended the Officer long course for Logistic Support Contract & Catering Management (LSCCM – the updated Catering Officers course), whilst also spending time as a Dari linguist & mentor, training indigenous forces at the Afghan Officers’ Academy in Kabul. My final role was a staff officer role, drafting a handbook on the employment of the Heavy Equipment Transport (HET) fleet.”

With regards to the key skills from Gavin’s time serving “Leadership: I led teams of mixed size and specialisation throughout my career. Project Management: as a staff officer most of my work was small projects within the day-to-day running of a Brigade Headquarters. Change management: as a Squadron 2IC I was responsible for supporting the reorganisation and re-rolling of our staff organisational matrix alongside the Regimental Career Management Officer (RCMO). Time management/self-presentation/discipline – all three work together and were instilled in me during my time at school, university and finally at RMAS prior to beginning my career as an Officer. Decision-making: never underestimate how valuable this learned skill is when you get out, a lot of people struggle to make effective decisions in a reasonable timeframe in the civilian world – your ability to do this helps enormously!.”

Gavin secured his role “through BuildForce’s support reaching out to their network and sharing my CV.” Gavin’s current role “I am a Senior Consultant within Programme Performance, a growing team within Consulting that sits in the Advisory part of T&T. My primary focus is providing project/programme management expertise to support client outputs, help them develop their own PM skills or to support improvements through delivery of frameworks, operating models etc as part of a wider team.  A typical day:- I am currently between clients following my return from paternity leave earlier in the year, but my previous role was as the programme schedule manager for the RAF’s Wind Farm Mitigation Programme. My day-to-day role was to ensure that all activities across all the Defence Lines Of Development (DLODs) were collated in a master schedule, whilst ensuring each DLOD’s individual project calendars aligned with the master. I had weekly engagement with each DLOD representative, alongside daily conferences with our Risk Manager in order to ensure all the risk being captured, and the subsequent potential delays they could incure, were annotated and if possible, mitigated within the programme schedule. The programme was in its infancy and moving at pace, which brought many challenges including the identification of and initial contact with suitable DLOD PoCs! Outside of client work I am our Cost Centre’s Dynamics 365 “super user” meaning that I have responsibilities looking after the management of our prospects & opportunities, “live project” management and also the financial controls for projects both within our cost centre and also where we have loaned personnel to projects owned by other cost centres. It gives me a unique insight into how our business operates with regards to project contracts and financial movement, albeit it can be really time consuming! Outside of these business responsibilities, I spend my time conducting Continuous Professional Development, building my network, conducting interviews for potential new T&T employees, mentoring junior consultants, and actively recruiting from my own personal network as we have an ever-growing demand for people.”

Gavin’s advice to anyone leaving the armed forces and seeking a career in construction: “NETWORK!!! You cannot start too early, and it is invaluable. Also, do not expect to land your dream job straight away, it takes time and effort, and you will take time to find who and what you are again. Finally, do your research and ask questions of the veteran community regarding salary and wider comp packages (we tend to be happier to discuss it than most career civilians!). Do not be surprised if you take a small pay-cut and start in a lower-level role when you first transition, you need to remember that you likely have very little/no corporate experience! That said, your wider skill set will allow you to progress quickly, so have patience and some faith.”

“My greatest challenges during my transition: the loss of camaraderie & sense of belonging; becoming comfortable with a slower pace of life; not getting annoyed with people when they say, “that’s not my job!”

Military skills Gavin uses in his day job “leadership, project/programme management, change management, communication, presentation skills, networking, IT skills (Microsoft 365) – pretty much everything I learnt in the military with a little bit added on top.”

Gavin advised the three words to describe a career in construction as “diverse, thriving and rewarding”. To describe veterans to civvy employers would be “adaptable, dependable and capable.”