From Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers Army Major to Mechanical Project Manager
Despite doubts after over 30 years in the Army, Matt Chapman found his skills were very much in demand in the construction industry
My typical day involves working on procurement bids, meetings, documentation, design understanding, technical submissions, site orientation and managing Skanska staff and sub-contractors in producing the required work to build a $1 billion building in Cambridge. If you had told me that even 6 months before my transition I would not have believed you!
Matt Chapman spent 31 years in the REME, reaching the rank of Major and serving as an Engineering Manager, managing technicians and engineers, MOD civilians and contractors in providing equipment support to a fleet of military vehicles.
I gained a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics and Engineering, a GCGI in Engineering Management, APMP, Chartered Engineer and many more besides, including the ability to lead and manage a broad plethora of tasks and projects, such as engineering, logistics and human resources.
Transition to civilian life brought a complete change of job role for Matt and the challenge of trying to understand his transferrable skills and their worth to a new industry.
My role with Skanska came about through networking and a CTP event with Skanska. Former service friends’ advice was helpful in understanding my transferable skills and realising my worth to civilian employers in construction, despite my lack of subject-matter knowledge. Leadership and management, communication, teamwork and diplomacy are valuable to civilian employers. I also learned that a long-serving serviceman’s CV cannot be just two pages long.
I’d say to others that you need to realise when a civilian employer would look to offer you a job – don’t panic when you have nothing with a year to go! Ask for advice, work out your transferrable skills with that advice, and network, network, network!