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Resettlement success

Gareth N
Forces: Royal Marines

Gareth N - Mne

"The support I received from my Career Consultant during my resettlement was second-to-none, and I would like to take this time to thank the CTP, for all the help I received over the past two and a half years."

Ex-Royal Marine Gareth Norton discharged in November 2014, following an eleven year career in the military. Here, he explains how he made the most of his resettlement to achieve a greater work-life balance as a qualified train driver.

Tell us about your time in the military.

I served in the Heavy Weapons branch of the Royal Marines for eleven years, and enjoyed most aspects of Service life; my highlights included the opportunity to travel the world and see different places, and also to practice my trade in hostile and dangerous environments whilst on operations.

As I grew older, I felt that I needed more independence and opportunities to make my own decisions on a day to day basis, so I made the decision to leave in 2014. I also decided that I had achieved a large percentage of what I set out to achieve back in 2003. I felt ready for a new challenge in a different field.

How did you find the resettlement process?

I attended a Career Transition Workshop at the resettlement centre in Plymouth, and found all aspects helpful; there was a lot of information to take away and model into the career path that was best for me.
I also used my Graduated Resettlement Time to complete two Health & Safety courses: NEBOSH National General Certificate and NEBOSH Construction Conversion.

The support I received from my Career Consultant during my resettlement was second-to-none, and I would like to take this time to thank the CTP, especially my Consultant, for all the help I received over the past two and a half years. From the initial guidance in identifying my future options and existing skillset, and then learning how to apply those to my CV, to researching vacancies and preparation for job interviews.

Another helpful tool was being able to look over my failed applications and identify areas that could be improved for my next opportunity. To do this I amended my CVs a number of times and requested my Career Consultant to proof read them for me; no matter when I needed advice and guidance, she was always on hand to help. My advice would be to make the most of your Career Consultant and to never be afraid to ask for help, even with the small things. It’s always worth using a second pair of eyes on your CV or application - even a small amendment could make the difference between an interview and a rejection.

How easily did you find employment post-discharge?

The qualifications I had gained during my HW3/Atk course helped to bridge the gap between leaving the Marines and my new career. Those qualifications were my HGV driving licence and ADR licence, which allowed me to transport dangerous and hazardous materials/chemicals around the UK. These licenses enabled me to acquire a job right away; not only did this work pay well to help provide a living, but with the industry being low on qualified HGV drivers it allowed me to fit in immediately.

Where are you working now?

I am now a qualified train driver with Northern Railways, and the job involves driving two types of trains in a safe and professional manner to ensure our customers arrive and their destination safely and on time. I am also required to follow strict rules and regulations and to follow strict Health and Safety guidelines.

I gained many skills and qualifications in the Royal Marines, but the ones I use on a regular basis are those transferable skills such as safety, communication, team work, working alone and professionalism.

How did you get your current job?

At the start of 2015 I secured the position of Revenue Protection Assistant with Northern Railways. During the twelve months that I worked in this role, I expanded my skills, experience and knowledge of the rail industry and so when the opportunity to apply for a driver’s job in my local area arose, I jumped at the chance. After applying I then went onto an interview, assessments and medical. I believe that my existing years’ experience with the company gave me a good foot into the door for this industry and also helped me to get to know the company, managers and staff.

The interview was a good experience and I feel the information provided by CTP, as well as by the company itself, played a huge part in my success. Using the STAR method and researching the role and the company helped enormously in allowing me to best prepare. The questions were pretty much covered in the CTP booklet but I would also recommend completing research specific to this type of role, as some questions are industry specific.

Tell us about your training.

Driving a train is relatively easy, it’s the sheer amount of information you’re required to learn and keep current that’s the difficult part. This involves four months in the classroom to learn everything about driving, rules & regulations, followed by multiple assessments. Once that’s complete it’s then onto driving with an instructor until you have completed your final assessments. You are then competent to drive a passenger train without any instruction. I initially found this to be a big confidence issue – but I soon found my feet.

What advice would you give other Service leavers?

I would say set out with a clear goal in mind and be prepared - depending on the industry it could take some time to achieve your goal. Carry out as much research as possible; network in the industry, speak to employees and leave no stone unturned.

Ensure you put as much information and key words into your CV/Applications, using the STAR method and getting it checked and checked again.

Don’t give up, as persistence will pay off. Thousands of candidates apply for the same vacancy - ensure your application stands out and is the best it possibly can be.

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