Gabriel Boakye

Align - HS2 JV

From the RLC to Quantity Surveyor

Gabriel served 7 years in the RLC leaving as a Private in 2015. He was a Logistics Specialist – Port Operator, part of the Military Port Task Group with the responsibility of loading and unloading vessels to meet port deadlines and operational commitments for the British Army.

Gabriel was deployed on an overseas operation with a team of 10 soldiers as part of the Port Task group support. A typical day included overseeing containerize and general cargo loading activities with the aid of operating various Mechanical Handling equipment for loading and offloading vessels at the military seaport, inspecting and reporting any nonconformities with the state of cargos to the Quay foreman.

He was also in supervision of 5 junior soldiers with a focus on mentoring them to develop their port operation trade skills, including personal administration for effective military operations. Finally, Gabriel was also in charge of general cleanliness for the port environment in accordance with Health and Safety.

Communications and people management skills were developed through Gabriel’s military career, where he learnt to communicate at all levels from junior ranks through to senior chain of command; both are now used daily in his current role as Senior Quantity Surveyor with HS2 Align Joint Venture which he secured through the support of BuildForce.

Unfortunately, Gabriel’s transition didn’t go to plan and he found himself on a rollercoaster coping with civilian life from house renting, social interaction, financial stability, through to employment. However, keeping in contact with successful ex-service personnel, taking advantage of their mentorship and industry work placements, complete with the resilience and courage instilled from service life kept him going and eventually got him to where he his today; a very happy place!

Further challenges during Gabriel’s transition was the sustenance of employment and struggling to find a role aligned to his skillset and the continued frustration of employers not recognising the value of ex-military personnel. He would have liked to have seen a well-structured guidance for those transitioning including mentoring, to enable him to learn from other people’s experiences and challenges.

In Gabriel’s new role he is in charge of all commercial matters; making sure his assigned projects are delivered within budget, in a timely fashion and in the peripheral of the set quality requirements. He sits within a Team of three senior quantity surveyors, who are all responsible for the general commercial management and contract administration of the HS2 project package for Colne Valley Viaduct construction. His daily activities include attending commercial meetings with clients and subcontractors on the project, liaising with the operational team on site and reporting any project findings to the commercial manager who is stationed at the site office. Gabriel also oversees subcontractor’s accounts, including final accounting at project completion stage.

Gabriel’s main advice to someone leaving the Armed Forces looking for a new career in construction is to take advantage of a mentor as the BuildForce programme offer as they can support and guide them through a time which can often be challenging. And 3 words to describe a career in construction?

“Rewarding, Satisfying and Challenging.”