From Army to HR Manager

Ian took part in a work placement with Lendlease using skills he had acquired from his time in HR management in the armed forces.

How did you find the process?

I didn’t know what I was going to achieve from a placement in the construction business, but it was soon apparent from the follow up calls and chats that I could offer something to it. Also looking at going into the HR side of things put a completely different aspect on the normal day to day construction jobs that people tended to go for with their engineering background from the military.

What did your placement entail?

I shadowed the former head of HR who has now moved into Planning and Development for the first part of the first week, but gave me an overall picture of what Lendlease do and the different job roles of the company on the HR side. I was also fortunate enough to attend some of his meetings and also be able to have some input into a couple of them.

Then moved downstairs and sat with the main HR team (Resourcing, Learning and Development, Pensions, Compensations, Equality and Benefits teams). Also I was given a project to work on about the new shared parental leave system that comes into force Apr 15 and what effects it may have on the workplace. Received numerous briefs from all the departments on what they do for the company.

Which skills gained from your time in the military did you use during the placement?

Hard one to quantify, however, I believe I used the following skills:

  • Timekeeping – arriving early before start times.
  • Reliability – turning up for meetings and presentations when required.
  • Initiative – Looking for work to do and going to speak to people without being told to do so.
  • Integrity – Being involved in some of the meetings and being trusted to be in there in the first place.
  • Resourcefulness – looking at what I could use and who to speak to, to get the answers I required.
  • Generally using the HR skills that I have amassed over the years to complete a couple of projects/tasks that where given to me to do.
  • Ability to integrate – Interacting in a new environment and settling in straight away with a new team, gained from years of moving around location to location.
  • Ability to feel comfortable to talk about what I have done and put my views forward, gained from the times I have given presentations to mixed groups of personnel and from facilitating lessons.

What obstacles did you face when settling into the placement?

Personally, I had no troubles settling into the placement and felt at home from Day 1. Whether that was due to the way I am as a person or the people in the company making me feel welcome or a mixture of the two, I had no fears or troubles settling in.

What advice would you give other Service leavers considering a career in the construction industry?

I would strongly recommend using at least 1 week of the GRT to get on a work placement before you decide on what path to follow. There are many different opportunities in the construction trade either out on site or in the Head Office that you would not normally think about without being in the trade. Even not being from a construction or engineering background, I have managed to settle in and integrate with the HR team with the minimum of fuss.

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