After 22 years as an Army Regular, a new challenge beckoned so Steve became a Safety, Health, Environmental and Quality (SHEQ) professional within the construction industry. Three years into that journey he realised he missed having a regular ‘fix’ of Army life. It was time to join the Army Reserves.
Currently employed by Morrison Utility Services (Stevenage, Hertfordshire) as their Central SHEQ Manager, Steve is also a Captain in the Royal Engineers and Second in Command of a specialist Royal Engineers Team (STRE) that provides infrastructure support, construction and design expertise to the military.
Aged 54, Steve has a tremendous amount of hands on experience and knowledge that benefits both his fellow reservists and colleagues. “All the skill sets you gain as a soldier are fully transferable; management of people, leadership, resource management, time management and confidence. These are all things that benefit my employer.”
Since 2014, many companies across the UK have signed the Armed Forces Covenant; a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. Morrison Utility Services have made that pledge and received the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award 2018 in celebration of the support they offer to their employees with a military experience.
“My company fully support me, allowing me the additional days to conduct my annual training exercises and any extra duties that may crop up from time to time. Because we employ a number of ex service personnel, they fully understand how important and useful to the business this can be.”
On a personal level, joining the Army Reserve has given Steve the opportunity to attend Sandhurst and train as an officer which he recounts as a phenomenal experience. “I have also been able to maintain and further my experience as a mountain bike leader via the adventure training opportunities.”
“As a mature soldier, I gain a great deal of satisfaction out of mentoring the younger and less experienced members of my team and it’s given me an opportunity to give something back. I’ve been lucky enough to work with young soldiers in my team and I’ve watched them mature to become better soldiers and engineers. They all say they’ve gained vital life skills, education and done things that they’ve thoroughly enjoyed.”
Striking the balance between personal, work and reservist commitments is always a challenge but with a supportive family behind him, Steve has continued to enjoy adventures of a lifetime.
“Being part of a specialist team, means I’ve been extremely lucky and attended exercises in the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Ascension Island, Italy and Germany. Closer to home, the Lake District, Scotland, Wales and Peak District have provided further adventures. I’ve also supported the Regular Army on expeditions including a trip to Crete trekking in the White Mountains.”
“What would my advice be to someone considering joining the Army Reserve? Just try it! There are so many opportunities for travel, training and doing things you would never otherwise do.”