I have recently taken up a role within Industrial Power Systems who are the exclusive UK distributors of all DEIF and HUEGLI TECH equipment used extensively in the Power Generation Industry, my path to this point is a clear and well-travelled route for good reason.
I joined the British Army as a naive 18 year old from Wigan in August 1995 as an Electrician in the Royal Corps of Signals and I completed a full career of 22 years, during this time I served in a number of locations such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, my roles where numerous and varied including Power Generation Engineer, Electronic Warfare, Multiple Commander and I was even lucky enough to teach my chosen trade at the College of CIS for a number of years. These experiences and knowledge have given me a solid skills base as I now move forward in my Civilian life, but there are differences that do need to be understood and overcome which I am now finding out.
Every day in the Military is a learning experience, you have no commercial pressure you don’t need to make a profit, you just need to practice for a notional war that will hopefully never happen, because of this mistakes are expected and almost encouraged, now working for IPS I am expected to provide a service that the customer is paying a premium for, if I make mistakes the company’s well-deserved and hard earned reputation could be damaged which could have catastrophic results. I have over 20 years of experience of thinking on my feet and coming up with solutions, now I have to ensure I have a plan formulated before I go onto site to ensure I can provide the most professional service possible to the customer which has resulted in a slightly different approach to my work.
Another difference is the language, the Military has a language all in itself which is seldom understood by the Civilian world but I have come to understand the Power Generation World also has its own. Another difference is I now have to deal with paying customers that have their own pressures and external influences, again this is something new as you don’t have typical customers in the Military, thankfully most ex-servicemen do not lack in confidence so this is something we can transition quite quickly.
The biggest obstacle I have come across since I left the Services is the lack of understanding of employers, in what I did and what skills I can bring, some employers still believe that a soldier just runs around a field shooting at targets and marching up and down parade squares. The vast majority of servicemen have chosen trades which are honed throughout a long and varied career working in extremely arduous conditions, these trades may not always follow the same direct path as their civilian counterpart, but this has its own benefits as it creates a different approach to the same problem and will have many transferable skills which the Civilian counterpart may not have.
It’s still early days in my transition but I am enjoying the challenge and I am bringing a different approach to my work which is why it is such a well-travelled route, throughout the power generation industry ex Royal Signals Electricians have embedded themselves, from being field service engineers to G59/99 testers to owning their own companies and making a genuine difference and improving standards, chances are you have come across quite a few. They will have a solid skills base, will be used to using their initiative, working under extreme pressure and trying new things but most of all will have a professional approach and an irreproachable work ethic. If an employer is willing to invest their time to overcome the slight differences any ex-serviceman will face they will be repaid many times over.
If you are interested in recruiting ex-services people or finding out more, there are a number of specialised agencies such as Forces Recruitment and Demobjob who advertise for both recruiters and job seekers.