From Royal Engineer to EHS Advisor
Kafui spent nearly 7 years in the Royal Engineers, latterly as LCpl from April 2007 to February 2014. He worked at the Royal School of Military Engineers with Malta troop, supporting all the exercises at the school which included training new recruits undergoing their combat/construction engineering training in transport, explosives, bridge building, just to mention a few. Key skills such as discipline, teamwork, IT skills, verbal and written communication skills, behavioural safety team leadership, reporting skills, coaching and
mentoring and stakeholder engagement learnt during his service contributed to securing his current role as EHS Advisor for Wills Bros Civil Engineering.
Kafui registered with BuildForce who secured him a work placement with Wills Bros which then later led to employment. Due to his planning, research of the job market and then deciding on what to do and pursuing courses meant his transition to “civvy street” was fairly easy. However, he was disappointed by industry and the false promises of employment, followed by hundreds of job application
rejections – planning ahead is critical! He also would have liked more support from the Army towards courses and feels they should be utilising organisations such as BuildForce to secure work placements for those about to leave months in advance to test the job market.
Kafui is the EHS advisor on a 3km upgrade of road into dual carriage status in East Kilbride, Scotland, managing the health, safety and environmental concerns on site, ensuring accident free days at work. A typical day for Kafui begins with a site drive to ensure all is in order; any damage is further investigated and reported to the police. He then leads the morning brief, ensuring all site operatives understand the work being carried out and the need to work safely. A lot of his time is spent carrying out site inspections and audits, communicating with the site operatives to improve safety on site. An important part of Kafui’s job is daily environmental audits and inspections including noise and vibration monitoring and ensuring they are not causing any pollutions to the burns and streams around the site. Any discolouration in a stream or burn is immediately investigated, water samples taken, and a PH and turbidity test is undertaken on site.
Core values such as discipline, oral and written communication skills, loyalty, HSE inductions, problem solving, stakeholder engagement, coaching & mentoring, and IT Skills have been instilled in Kafui from his time served in the Army. When asked what advice he would give to anyone leaving the Armed Forces who is interested in a career in construction, he replied:
“First decide on what it is you want to do; try and gain as many qualifications as possible utilising your ELCAS – most course providers now accept ELCAS funding. If you are not academic, don’t worry as there are hundreds of other roles you can get involved in. I would advise you get in touch with BuildForce and secure a work placement; try out the different roles on site. The companies registered with BuildForce are very helpful and will take care of you. I cannot overemphasise the importance of planning, the notion that once you leave the Army, you can walk straight into any job is fiction. Failing to prepare for civvy street is preparing to fail.”
And which three words would you use to describe a career in the construction industry?
“Exciting, challenging and fun.”