July 18, 2019

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, which has provided a range of careers for ex-military personnel 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.

Jobs 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.

To celebrate National Armed Forces Week (24-30 June), some of SIG Distribution workers with military backgrounds gave their thoughts on working in the construction and logistics sector.

Rupert Tubbs is Operations Director for SIG Distribution. Earlier in his career Rupert spent seven years in the Armed Forces serving as a Platoon Commander in Asia, as well as an Operations Officer in Northern Ireland and the Gulf War.

Mr Tubbs said: “At SIG Distribution now, how we are transforming the business has many similarities with the armed forces mindset – 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 logistics industry.”

Southampton-based James Gardner is an Operations Manager at SIG Distribution having spent nine years working in the Royal Regiment of Artillery. He said: “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 between one another. 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 Distribution following nine years in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers serving in Germany, Bosnia and Iraq. He said: “The Army prepared me to be a good generalist. After I left the Army 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 mindset that people learn in the forces.”

Andrew Lawson is a Project Manager at SIG Distribution following over 20 years in the Armed Forces where he served in numerous roles, including Army Officer, military logistics, air assault forces and bomb disposal. He said: “The Army, like SIG Distribution, is multi-functional with multiple departments, areas and sites that all contribute to the bigger picture.

Andrew Lawson

“While I’m new to the construction industry, I’m already seeing many similarities with the Armed Forces. The biggest similarity 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 said: “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 learnt 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.

Fran Galbraith, Group Talent and Development Director at SIG plc, said: “We’ve seen first-hand that Armed Forces leavers make great employees in the construction sector, where we have had a lot of success recruiting service leavers into a variety of roles such as drivers, operations managers and senior management positions. Not only do they have significant experience, but they have first-class personal qualities – they’re motivated, versatile and quick-learners. They also have lots of transferable skills, such as teamwork, organisation, planning and communications.

“We would encourage service personnel looking for civilian career options to take a look at our careers website for current vacancies to see where their skills may match.”


To view SIG’s current vacancies and learn more about the company, visit http://www.sigplc.com/careers