Michael O’Mara

Ringwood Jacobs

From Royal Navy Petty Officer to Highways Operative

Michael served in the Royal Navy for 13 years from May 2007 to October 2020, leaving as a Petty Officer.

He was an instructor, responsible for all firearms, periodic and ceremonial training. Michael also dealt with welfare issues and moderated health and safety around the building where he was based, to account for all weapons in an armoury in MoD Caledonia.

Michael has developed numerous soft skills due to the complex nature of the Royal Navy. He was away from home for 9 months at a time, which meant he needed to be flexible, as natural disasters and last minute orders were common in his line of work. Through building relationships with third party organisations, Michael was able to improve on his communication skills with policy changes or contractual issues. The Royal Navy exposed Michael to various people where by coming together and identifying individual strengths and weaknesses, they worked well as a team to problem solve which lead to successful outcomes.

Michael secured his current role by applying online and now works as a Highways Operative at Ringwood Jacobs where his role involves:

  •  Conducting resurfacing – repairing carriageways and pathways
  • Driving an HGV vehicle to collect materials
  • Operating within an emergency response team for highway accidents/road traffic collisions.

    Michael’s typical day in his current role involves shifts from 7am-3:30pm, where he attends daily briefings, sets up traffic management for safe working and conducts excavation of road or paths to replenish. He also completes optional out of hours work for winter maintenance and incident response.

    Michael still focuses on safety by ensuring all procedures are followed to minimise risk and possible injury. As well as problem solving, by having to adapt due to the uncertain nature of what problems may occur from manpower shortage, machinery defects and inclement weather, he is able to transfer his skills from the Royal Navy to his roadworks activities.

    During Michael’s transition to civvy street, he had great support from his last unit, which gave him time to complete all necessary courses, although Covid and trying to find construction courses eligible for ELCAS proved challenging. Visibility of funding for courses below Level 3 would have been useful during his transition.

    Michael’s advice to someone leaving the Armed Forces seeking a new career in construction is to find a work placement with a company of interest. He also advises to research; be wary of the options available so that time and money invested into courses are beneficial for the chosen career direction.

    Lastly, 3 words Michael would use to describe a career in the construction industry would be:

    “Variety. Development. Self-sufficient.”