Highways England urges ex-forces to join its ranks
Highways England today called on ex-military personnel to consider a career in roads – as it was rewarded for its own work to support people coming out of the armed forces.
The company has just been given a prestigious award by the Ministry of Defence for its continued commitment to inspiring and supporting both veterans and reservists.
The award is given to employers who support defence and inspire others to do the same.
It was presented to company representatives Royal Naval Reservist Lieutenant Commander Robert Jaffier, now an asset and resource manager, and Ron Calderwood-Duncan, Head of Engagement and Culture Change.
Robert, who nominated the company, said:
“I am delighted that the hard work carried out by Highways England to recognise the achievements and skills of ex-military personnel has been recognised.
“In practical terms, Highways England appeared a good fit for me to be able to continue my civilian career while pursuing my personal development as a reservist.
“The main challenge was settling back down to civilian life from my time out on operations and become reacquainted with the culture of the business that had evolved while I was away. So, it’s great that my workplace offers successful applicants a buddy who is someone who has experienced making the transition from military life to working for Highways England. I am delighted to offer my support as a buddy for new recruits, and I urge anyone from the forces looking for a career change to consider Highways England.”
The Ministry of Defence makes awards under its Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. Employers have to show their values are aligned with the Armed Forces Covenant.
Since signing the Armed Forces Covenant in June 2017, Highways England has actively been supporting leavers from the Armed Forces reintegrate into civilian careers, and to help operate, maintain and improve motorways and major A roads in England.
The company launched an ex-military recruitment programme earlier this year which incorporated an insight day for service leavers to find out more about how it works, and the roles it can offer. It employs and supports both reservists and veterans, with up to 10 days paid special leave for reservists to attend military related training.
You’ll be spoilt for choice for career routes from working on major projects or support functions such as HR finance and IT through to our hands on operational roles running the everyday traffic operations.
You can search and apply for jobs at Highways England via the careers webpage.
You can also read the Armed Forces Covenant promise in full here.
Interview with Robert Jaffier
Q. Did you always want to join the military? How long did you serve for in the Navy?
I looked to the military to build on my sense of adventure and desire to work within a team spirited environment. I started my career as a Naval Reservist in 1990 in the city of Birmingham before becoming a commissioned Officer in 2000, prior to going full time to conduct a tour of duty abroad. My association with the Royal Navy may surprise some, given Birmingham is many miles away from the sea.
Q. What does it mean to be an Asset Resource Manager for Highways England? What is your role from day to day?
I lead a small team managing our assets, developing future programmes, and commenting on land use planning within the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire areas.
I am fortunate to have additional responsibilities as the West Midlands Geotechnical and Equality and Diversity Champion for my division.
The scope of my work is diverse. I am delighted to interact with a wide range of customers, ranging from discussions with members of the public, through to providing briefings and information for government departments. The skills I bring from my experience from within the military, further enhances the opportunity to make a valued difference with my customers at work and support to my colleagues.
Q. What transferable skills from the military have you found to be most useful in your new position?
I am fortunate to have received significant investment in training throughout my full time, and career as a Reservist. I have a wealth of qualifications and attributes that map across into my civilian career. These include:
- Risk Management and awareness;
- Key Leader Engagement
- Equalities & Diversity Advisor
- Trained Mentor
- Command Leadership & Management – Focusing on the development and motivation of individuals and teams
- Problem solving
- First Aid
Members from the armed services, by definition of their training are by default disciplined individuals who are committed to getting the job done, often with little or no supervision. We can offer a different perspective to problems and focused on solving those problems creatively. Ex Service personnel are often less likely to have sickness and attendance issues base on their disciplined background.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job here?
I enjoy interacting with our diverse range of customers and stakeholders which range from members of the public through to those in central government. I am proud that my work and contribution to Highways England makes a valued difference in support of the travelling public across our business and commerce across the West Midlands region contributing to the country’s prosperity.
Q. This year is The Year of Engineering, what would be your one message to inspire young people?
Travelling on holiday as a child during the summer months, I became fascinated by the beautiful designs of bridge structures on the motorway network. This led to my interest in pursuing a career within engineering.
As an adult I am delighted to have been trained in many engineering disciplines and now be employed by the organisation who manages England’s motorways and major A roads.
My love of engineering has fulfilled a child hood dream. This has become a wonderful journey.
Q. Any advice for any Armed Forces members who might be considering a career change but are worried about leaving?
Leavers of the armed forces have so much to offer to potential new employers.
This highly trained and disciplined potential work force is now being recognised by employers and I recommend that they seek advice from those military networks and careers advisers to discuss the best route into their chosen organisations.
Many service personnel have an abundant experience in project management by definition of their roles conducted in uniform. I recommend that prospective candidates seek to comprehensively communicate their wider experiences via the recruitment processes.