Shane Lewis

Mott MacDonald

From the Royal Engineers to Consultant Project Manager

Shane served in the Army as a Royal Engineer for a total of 23 years, completing his service in 2021 as a WO1. He was responsible for the discipline of a Works group (125 people), advised the Commanding Officer on day to day business.

A typical day for Shane consisted of emails, checking the guardroom to ensure there were no overnight issues, prioritising his day in accordance to his CO requests. Update orders, organise internal visits, presentations and parades; reacting to all incoming activities. Shane had to be flexible as his role was very much a reactive one.

The academic qualifications Shane acquired through his military service have been his greatest asset; his Clerk of Works course provided him with a foundation degree in Building services

(Mechanical). His Learning credits further allowed him to complete a one year top-up course to achieve a full BEng (hons) degree in Engineering Management. These qualifications and training were used in his role from 2011 whilst working on infrastructure projects both in design and project management. Further soft skills such as time management, organisation, punctuality, values and standards were acquired during his time as a RE.

Shane’s current role is a Consultant Project Manager with Mott MacDonald, gained via an advert on the CTP website and his BuildForce Mentor who was a PM with Mott MacDonald. Shane’s family were his biggest support during his transition but his main challenge was securing a job once he had signed off as he found civilian companies wouldn’t hold a job for 12 months so he remained hopeful that it would work out and fortunately, secured employment 3 months prior to his start date.

Shane’s role as a PM is within the transportation sector (rail, highways etc.), talking to contractors, clients and his peers; advising, negotiating and bridging the gap between the client and the contractor. A typical day now for Shane is filtering emails in the morning and prioritising tasks for the day, in addition to organised meetings, etc. Unlike his military career, this role is very structured and organised, so his biggest challenge is to ensure forward thinking and planning and then report accordingly, liaise as required and make things happen.

Interpersonal skills such as leadership, management, stakeholder engagement, problem solving, identifying risks, reporting were all acquired during his military career and are a vital asset in his civilian PM role.

Shane advises anyone leaving the Armed Forces seeking a new career in construction to:

“Go for it, there is a role for everyone somewhere in the industry. Understand your own transferable skills and sell yourself. Ex service personnel are notoriously bad for selling themselves well, so know your worth!”

Finally, Shane would describe a career in the construction industry as: “Different, rewarding, challenging.”