Atalian Servest are proud to have a large Armed Forces community within our diverse business, from veterans, reservists and service families, all of which use their rich experiences and knowledge to deliver award-winning solutions to our clients.
On Armed Forces Day, we are putting the spotlight on some of our colleagues, who have shared their ‘hidden stories’. Many reflected on why they initially joined the Armed Forces, their highlights, why they made the difficult decision to leave and all about their second careers in FM.
Carl Gage, Regional Director, Technical Services
I was a Chef in the Royal Navy for just under 10 years; I wanted to join the military as it was structured, disciplined, and enabled me to see the world while doing something I liked.
There are too many highlights to list but the key ones for me was having the privilege to meet several the royal family, cooking for royalty on the Lord Nelsons flagship HMS Victory. I have seen some amazing places, and some not so nice, but it has given me invaluable life experiences that I would never have had if I had not joined the military.
I exited in 2009 in the rank of Petty Officer, as I felt it was the right time to try a new career. I felt I had served long enough while still being of an age to start a new career. I started off in H&S as I followed my dad’s footsteps; I did my NEBOSHH as part of my resettlement and moved across into FM operations in 2014.
A career in FM is very much like being in the military, every day is different, while offering many different challenges and career paths. There are lots of transferable skills that anyone leaving the military can bring to FM.
Holly Ferneyhough, Business Support Manager, Corporate
I served in British Army as an Arming Landing Point Commander (ALPC) in the 3 Regiment Army Air Corps.
When I was 11 years old, I visited my uncle who was posted as a PT Corps Warrant Office in Bicester. He let me have a go on one of the obstacle course (in my brand new trainers) where I got muddy, crawled under barbed wire, ran through some suspicious looking trenches, climbed walls and still managed to beat some of the soldiers there. Safe to say I was hooked! Regardless of my mum having a go about the trainers, I decided there and then that that was what I wanted to be when I grew up. It took me until I was 19 but I joined and lived out a dream.
I served for eight years and exited in 2015, but during my service I was lucky enough to travel the world. Sailed the Caribbean and then later on in my career sailed transatlantic from New York to Gosport in 2014. 18 days at sea on a 67ft yacht has to be one of the most challenging and best experiences I’ve ever had.
When I exited in 2015, it was the right time for me. I’d reassessed my personal goals and felt a career outside of the Armed Forces was the way forward. My advice to anyone else thinking of starting their second career would be to look at your strengths, be honest about your capabilities and don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith into the FM industry. To me it feels like the FM industry values Ex-Service Personnel and recognises the qualities and skill set that is an asset to their businesses.
Simon Bramwell, Events & Compliance Manager, Security
I joined the Army on the 18th of February 1985 at 17 years old, I was enlisted as a private soldier into the 1st Battalion the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment (1 DWR) serving in Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Falkland Islands, Iraq and Afghanistan. I had a successful carrier working my way up the promotional ladder to the Rank of Sergeant Major (WO2), covering many different roles such as section commander, platoon sergeant, Company quartermaster sergeant and finally WO2, all of these roles gave me both theoretical and practical experience of logistical and facilities management (FM).
I served for 22 years 3 months and 22 days and left the army as I served a full career, I could have extended, however, I chose to leave and pursue a career in Security and Close Protection working in Afghanistan for over 14 years providing Armed Hostile Security Environment Close Protection, Armed static Guarding, Logistics and Facilities Management to many high value diplomatic clients and NGOs.
The advice I would give anyone thinking of leaving the military would be to look at what you have achieved and the skills you have gained as these will be used in civilian life once you leave the army, Think about your resettlement course, and think out of the box at careers that are multi role such as FM as this gives you many options to broaden your existing skills and experience.
David Fotheringham, Operations Director, Catering
I joined the Army straight from school and moved down south for two years for my initial training and served for a further 9 years, it was all I ever knew in terms of work. I found the transition when I left the Army difficult but, I have been fortunate enough to have completed several management courses and have worked with great managers, directors and MD’s.
When transitioning, you need that support structure around you as it is a very different environment. There are similarities though, and for me, it’s the people you work with that make any job enjoyable.
Patrick Canning, Account Manager, Technical Services
I served in the British Army in The Black Watch Royal Highland regiment for 10 years. I initially joined because I wanted to serve my country and see the world, my highlights during service were the opportunities to live in Germany and visit Canada.
After serving in Kosovo and Iraq, I was medically discharged due to injuries sustained in service. My first civilian job after exiting was in security management, and it was during this time I became aware of the FM industry, and now work as an Account Manager in the Technical Services division of Atalian Servest.
There is no doubt that leaving the army leaves a massive gap your life as it’s a very focused and disciplined career. But FM is very much the same, particularly in client based roles as you have to focus to achieve expectations and specific goals.
Paul McCarthy, Electrician, Technical Services
I served within the Royal Navy as a WEM (R) which was an weapons engineer mechanic (radar); my role was to maintain the ships electrical systems, above water communications and weapon systems on board ship and shore establishments.
I joined the military as at the time of leaving school there was not much opportunity within my local area and the military seemed a good choice, I went on to serve for over 14 years and exited in May 2003. In my time within the Navy, I had many highlights from being awarded medals for service in war zones around the world and providing humanitarian aid to disaster areas but, the biggest highlight was my promotions in rank.
I left the Navy with no formal qualifications, so I resat my electrical apprenticeship again at college, which then lead me into several different areas of facilities management. I would recommend any service member exiting the Armed Forces to make sure their qualifications are up to civilian standard and to work in a company that has a large ex-forces community like Atalian Servest.
I would recommend a career in the industry as it is an interesting and satisfying, no two days are the same and if you like to challenge every day than this is the field to be in. Since leaving the forces, I have enjoyed my time within the FM sector and recommend any service leavers to give it a try.