From Royal Engineers Sergeant Major to Self-Employed SHEQ Trainer
Sergeant Major Shaun Benton served 23 years in the Royal Engineers before making the transition to civilian life.
A long and full career in the Army took Shaun from Combat Engineer Sapper and tours of Northern Ireland and the Gulf to Squadron Sergeant Major conducting squadron pre-deployment training of a Counter IED squadron, via stints as a construction engineer and training manager of Queens University Officers’ Training Corps.
I learned a lot about project management – planning and completing numerous construction tasks from the heat of the desert to the freezing temperatures of Norway and the Balkans – and human resources management: guiding careers, overseeing training, welfare and discipline and compliance.
In my current role as a self-employed SHEQ (Safety, Heath, Environment and Quality) Manager and Training Manager co-ordinator for Nationwide Engineering, I use all of those skills. My day encompasses programme design, training, project management, HR, motivation, problem solving, budget management and more. It is like being a Staff Sergeant and Sergeant major rolled into one.
The Army gives you so many transferrable skills, just be careful how they are applied – a measured approach is a valuable tool. It’s hard initially relating to the civilian mentality that a ‘job is just a job” and not going the extra mile to achieve the best.
Speak to your colleagues as you would your troop, squadron and management and always listen to advice (you don’t have to take it all, but listen). Never take what you have learnt during your service for granted, it makes you who you are and stand out from your civilian counterpart.