From Platoon Commander to Assistant Project Manager

Geordie Ogilvie served as a Captain in the Royal Scots Borderers for 6 years until 2016, largely in the role of Platoon Commander on duty in Scotland, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Jordan.

The key transferable skills he feels he gained while serving were communication and presentation skills – the ability to effectively brief a mixed audience, an appreciation of the value of doing a job well and on time, and a tenacious problem solving ability.

Geordie found a work placement position at the international property and infrastructure company, Lendlease Consulting, and was then offered his current role of Assistant Project Manager. Asked what helped him most to get into construction, he said:

Attending networking events and networking as much as possible. This is in my opinion how jobs are found and how you find out what you might like to do. More general transition advice would be to maintain the values and standards the military instilled in you. In my experience, the little things counted; tidy haircut, shaven, smartly turned out, clean shoes, respectful, honest, engaging, all these things create a first impression which is vital when networking.”

Geordie’s role at Lendlease involves either leading or contributing to the management of projects on behalf of clients, which could be anything, from building of a new school to the installation of a virtual reality suite! His typical day will include general admin, client meetings, creating and giving presentations and working with project teams.

And what advice would Geordie give to someone who was leaving the Armed Forces now and looking to move into the construction industry?

  • Network and get work experience on a building site. This is key as you will then be able to form your own opinion on a whether a future career is suitable for you. Don’t worry that the work experience is not paid, it will pay dividends in other ways, even if to inform you that construction is not for you.
  • Take advantage of any resettlement grants, or learning credits you have access to and do courses.
  • Speak to people already in the roles to find out what would be useful.
Tom Scott
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