From the Royal Navy to Senior Project Advisor


Gareth Morris served in the Royal Navy as a Marine Engineer between 1998 and 2023 leaving with the rank of WO1.

“As a former member of the Royal Navy, I’m proud of the work I accomplished during my service. Starting as a Junior Marine Engineering Mechanic in 1998, I worked my way up to Warrant Officer First Class, Engineering Technician before leaving after 5 years in that role.

I had the opportunity to serve in various roles within the Royal Navy, including operational engineering while at sea on operations, training new entry trainees, managing the careers of over 1000 Engineering Technicians, and managing an engineering department while at sea on operations. Additionally, I provided project management to ships regenerating back into service.

My time in the Royal Navy was a valuable experience that allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have served my country and to have worked with such a talented group of individuals.

Mechanically and electrically trained from initial training, I provided engineering support to ships at sea in a very challenging and rewarding career. Recently, I had the opportunity to work on a multi-million-pound project to regenerate a ship back into operations. The project involved bringing a ship that had been in deep maintenance for over 5 years back into service. It was a challenging task, but with the right team and the right approach, we were able to keep the project on track for regenerating back into the Naval Service. I am proud to have been part of such a rewarding project and it helped with my transition out of the Royal Navy.

Some of the main skills I have learned during my time in the Navy include:-

  • Leadership & Management – Completed various courses to boost my skills throughout my career but learning on the job from others also played a key part in the learning process. Joining as a young sailor at 16 years old, I didn’t have any leadership skills to note but loved being part of the team ethos. Progressing through my career, I was then given responsibility to take charge of a team whilst repairing equipment, needing to manage others and provide a successful outcome to ensure the ship can remain on operations.
  • Working to a deadline plays into the above explanation, whilst in the RN, you always have a deadline to meet, and I was able to play a key role in delivering this whilst managing large teams of Engineers to complete a successful maintenance period.
  • The ability to plan effectively and coordinate a group of individuals to enhance their skills whilst maintaining operational effectiveness.
  • Stakeholder management – I was always keen to discuss issues rather than repeat what has gone before. Always engaging with equipment manufacturers, higher management, and the close engineering team to improve processes to make our lives easier.
  • Thinking on your feet – the ability to react to dangerous situations whilst the ship is near others and maintain the safety of equipment and personnel. Not everything is written down as an SOP and being able to react effectively is needed whilst at Sea.

I now work as a Senior Project Advisor for Mace (seconded to Babcock). I registered with, had my career chat and BuildForce linked me into Mace via Terry Price. I conducted the interview early on and passed but had to wait for a suitable position. BuildForce were vital in getting the deal over the line with weeks to go.

My role involves working closely with the project team to deliver the upkeep package whilst maintaining the key schedule dates. Working with the design team, we identify any areas of concern regarding new equipment and systems and provide the solution to continue with the installation of new equipment. Conducting safety rounds to ensure everyone is going about their work correctly and managing risk effectively.  I’m currently working within Babcock to deliver a billion-pound project that will support future submarine support. I’m working on documents to ensure the design process is followed correctly whilst approving the designs/requirements and then conduct assurance throughout the build process.

My typical day does involve a lot of admin, writing documents for guidance to ensure everyone follows the same process but soon to change when we begin construction.

Everything I’d learned since joining the Royal Navy but the more recent position working within Babcock (although still in Royal Navy) on a large project definitely increased my knowledge of how civvies worked and the difference between military and them.

I still am facing a challenge as I’ve gone from working in a team and managing engineers to working alone and mostly from home, both very different environments. My current role hasn’t got the fast pace that I’ve been used to for the last 25 years but I’m sure that will change.

One thing I’d love to have seen during the transition process, which is not necessarily achievable is the ability to have more time to allow for the transition. You’re only given 12 months which sounds like a lot but after doing pretty much the same role for 25 years, that can be daunting as within those 12 months, you’re also having to work your normal job and fit in courses, cv writing etc. That said, my advice would be don’t hesitate, go for it! There are so many different avenues to follow within construction that many people don’t consider. I love that the construction industry is so vast as there’s so much potential.

Finally, three words I would use to describe an ex-military person to the construction industry – dependable, committed and professional.”