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Transitioning into site manager: Phil Smith’s story

Transitioning into site manager: Phil Smith’s story


12 Dec, 2023

Final Rank: Sapper in the Royal Engineers
Years Served: 7 years

Phil Smith enlisted in September 2006 and served in the Royal Engineers (RE) for seven years, specializing as a Combat Engineer. His service concluded in December 2013 when he took voluntary redundancy. Reflecting on his military career, Phil notes that he didn't gain any civilian qualifications during his service, a common situation for many service members at the time.

Upon leaving the military, Phil faced the challenge of redirecting his career path in the civilian world. "The transition was a journey into the unknown," he shares. "I had to identify how my skills and experiences in the military could translate into a civilian role."

Strategy for Transition: Phil's approach to transitioning involved several key steps:

  • Armed Forces Transition Programme: Phil participated in the Armed Forces Transition Programme, which led him to a Trainee Assistant Site Manager role at Barratt Developments. "This programme was my gateway to the construction industry," Phil says.
  • Rapid Career Progression: Leveraging the skills he developed in the military, Phil quickly advanced from Trainee Assistant Site Manager to Assistant Site Manager, and then to his current role as a Site Manager.
  • Adapting Military Skills to Civilian Work: Phil found that many of the skills he honed during his time in the military, such as leadership, teamwork, and working under pressure, were directly transferable to his role in construction management. "My military experience laid the foundations for my leadership style and ability to drive projects to completion," he explains.

As a Site Manager, Phil is responsible for organizing operatives, ensuring site safety, managing materials, and liaising with various stakeholders. "Every day is different and interesting," he says. "The camaraderie and teamwork in this role remind me of my time in the Army."

Reflecting on his journey, Phil emphasizes the importance of recognizing and utilizing the skills acquired in the military. He advises other service leavers to be flexible and open-minded about job opportunities and industries. "Networking is invaluable. Opportunities can come from connections made through LinkedIn, networking events, and conferences," he advises.

Phil Smith's transition from the Royal Engineers to a successful career in the construction industry demonstrates the potential for growth and success after military service. His story highlights the importance of adaptability, recognizing transferable skills, and seeking opportunities for advancement. Phil's journey serves as an inspiration for other service members navigating their transitions into civilian careers