Ex-military perfectly suited to construction industry
Former Armed Forces personnel have the perfect traits for careers in construction and logistics, according to one of the country’s leading suppliers of building materials.
SIG Distribution has provided a range of careers for those who have left the Armed Forces, employing many with military backgrounds across its UK workforce. The company describes team working, leadership and problem solving as the three main transferable qualities former military personnel tend to naturally have, which makes them great candidates for careers in construction and logistics. Other traits include discipline, a good work ethic, confidence and strong decision-making skills.
Roles available in civvy street include managerial positions, IT workers, transport coordinators and lorry drivers, but former Armed Forces personnel run throughout the hierarchy at SIG.
Some of SIG Distribution’s workers with military backgrounds give their take on working in the construction and logistics sector …
- Rupert Tubbs is operations director for SIG Distribution. Earlier in his career he spent seven years in the Forces serving as a Platoon Commander in Asia, as well as an Operations Officer in Northern Ireland and the Gulf War. Says Rupert, ‘At SIG, how we are transforming the business has many similarities with the Armed Forces mind-set – there are clear objectives and a real determination to achieve the mission. In my role as operations director I have responsibility for the organisation of large numbers of people to complete a complex task – this is common to both the Army and the logistics industry.’
- James Gardner (pictured below) is an operations manager at SIG Distribution having spent nine years working in the Royal Regiment of Artillery. He says: ‘Working for SIG is like being part of a major network of people very much like the military – you are constantly looking to improve communications. The military teaches you to adhere to tight deadlines and utilise all resources necessary to ensure the desired outcome.’
- Phil Coghlan is transformation director at SIG following nine years in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers serving in Germany, Bosnia and Iraq. He comments: ‘The Army prepared me to be a good generalist. After I left I realised that my colleagues who’d had careers in engineering or finance were experts in quite narrow areas, whereas I was good at understanding a broader situation and very quickly working out what needed to be done with a team whose skills were quite different to mine. The construction industry relies on practical people who can solve a problem and who get the job done whatever challenge stands in their way. This is exactly the mind-set that people learn in the Forces.’
- Andrew Lawson (pictured below) is a project manager at SIG following more than 20 years in the Armed Forces, where he served in numerous roles, including Army Officer, military logistics, air assault forces and bomb disposal. He says: ‘The Army, like SIG, is multi-functional with multiple departments, areas and sites that all contribute to the bigger picture. While I’m new to the construction industry, I’m already seeing many similarities with the Armed Forces. The biggest appears to be when we support our customers, going the extra mile to ensure they meet their objectives.’
- Former Royal Navy Marine Engineer Terry Burdon spent four years in the military before finding a career as a category manager at SIG Distribution in Leeds. He adds: ‘The main issue I had was transitioning from a job I always wanted to do and had dreamed about as a child, to being out of work and having no clue what I wanted to do. Thankfully the core skills I learned in the Armed Forces made me persevere and helped me to find a new career that I enjoy and can be proud of.’
Each year, about 15,000 people leave the Armed Forces in the UK, equipped with a range of skills and abilities perfectly suited to careers in construction and logistics. Says Fran Galbraith, group talent and development director at SIG plc, ‘We would encourage Service personnel looking at civilian career options to take a look at our careers website for current vacancies to see where their skills may match.’ To view current vacancies and learn more about SIG, visit www.sigplc.com/careers
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