From Royal Marines Reconnaissance specialist to Change Control Manager

Tom Carver spent seven years in the Royal Marines working in small teams in high-stress environments, which required an ability to form quick bonds and managed conflict within the team and also with external stakeholders. Tom explains:

Self-motivated learning was regarded in my unit with the same importance as physical training, and my studies informed decisions where guidance was not available. This was part of the Royal Marines overall entrepreneurial approach, encouraging innovation and openness to new ideas. This is particularly important in my case, as this attitude led me to reach out to BuildForce, despite having no prior construction experience.

Tom found the initial transition from military to ‘civvy street’ employment very challenging,, particularly because of the lack of available support and the effect of the financial crisis on the job market. He reflects:

Because of the tough employment market during the recession, the first three years were spent with poor prospects and little direction. Looking back, my self-reliance was a double-edged sword, as it held me back from investigating sources of support. While I still made progress, it was slow, and at times frustrating.

However, Tom stuck at it and did reach out for support, including registering with BuildForce, which, after lots of preparation and an interview, led to him accepting a role at South Western Railway as Change Control Manager in 2018. This job involves discussing issues with all levels of management and focuses on ensuring any changes to project baselines are adequately consulted with key stakeholders, and that agreement is met before work is carried out. This also opens the possibility of collaboration with other projects, across different functions and organisations, so relationship building is one of the key transferable skills he employs.

Finally, what has helped Tom most and what advice would he give to other service leavers?

What has never gone away is the ‘military family’ and every opportunity I have had since leaving can be attributed in some my to my extended military network. BuildForce has continued that theme, and I have no-doubt they will continue to provide guidance and support to service leavers and veterans like myself.

In terms of advice I would say two things: 1. Remember your military network, (both serving and veteran) and don’t be afraid to reach out to them. 2. Challenge your own preconceptions of different industries, and trial different roles through work placements.

Tom Carver
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