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UK Power Networks mark Armed Forces Day by outlining career opportunities for ex-military

A former Royal Engineer from Dover has outlined how he has reconnected with civilian life through building a career in the electricity industry.

From Press releases - 21 June 2017 12:00 AM

Jason Buddle image 1.jpg

Jason Buddle, who previously worked in bomb disposal for the military, has completed an ‘experienced’ apprenticeship with UK Power Networks and is now an EHV construction fitter for Britain’s largest electricity network operator.

Ahead of Armed Forces Day on June 24, the company which owns and operates the electricity networks in the East of England, London and the South East, is keen to outline how other veterans can potentially follow Jason’s lead.

UK Power Networks signed a forces friendly corporate covenant back in 2015 and continues to provide a number of recruitment opportunites for ex-service personnel.

Jason is also working to complete an HNC in Electrical Engineering via a day release course from his job and has told how he successfully overcame his initial concerns at making the move into civvy street.

Jason, 26, who works across Kent, said: “I’m proud to have now completed my apprenticeship and really enjoy the role I have.

“In my bomb disposal role with the Royal Engineers I was part of a search team who would clear routes for those fighting on the ground when working overseas and being in Afghanistan for a six-month period was very challenging. I also did Ops work in the UK checking venues for any bombs, usually ahead of major events such as political conferences.

“When I took redundancy from my role at the Royal Engineers it was quite a worrying time. You wonder how you are going to roll into another job and I was concerned about finding employment.

“I was concerned at the prospect of being unemployed and not being able to translate the skills I had into another field of work.

“When you are in the military it is a very regimented lifestyle, everything is very organised in what is a very structured environment so a change of career felt like it would be a major transition.

“What I found with the UK Power Networks apprenticeship was that process was made as easy as possible for me with a lot of support given.

“Working for UK Power Networks a lot of the principles are the same, the importance of putting safety first for instance, so I have been able to transfer some of my skills.

“In the military, you learn to adapt quickly to resolve problems and I think the same applies here, you have to respond to changing circumstances and make the right decisions.

“I am aware of other ex-military working for UK Power Networks, we have met up a few times at events and there is a good camaraderie between us because of the shared experience we have had.

“We have been on a similar journey in some ways and it is great to hear of others also making a success of their own career change.”

Chris Degg, director of Human Resources at UK Power Networks, said: “Jason’s successful progress through an apprenticeship and into his current role shows there is a clear pathway for Armed Forces veterans at UK Power Networks.

“One of our priorities is to be recognized as an Employer of choice and this involves attracting, recruiting, retaining and developing high quality talent such as those who have served with the Armed Forces.

“We believe that we are successful in achieving this as demonstrated by our inclusion in The Sunday Times ‘Best Big Companies to Work For’ listing for the past three years and also our Investors in People gold accreditation.

“As a company we are fully committed to being forces friendly and recognise the sacrifices servicemen and women have made for their country in the course of their job. We do everything possible to support them in maximising the career opportunities which we have available plus the pride in knowing that they are working for a very successful business which has been recognized as ‘Utility of the Year’ for the past two years.”

Ipswich brothers Luke and Lee Markwell followed their father Martyn in becoming involved with the Forces and believe they have taken a legacy from what they learned into their roles at UK Power Networks.

Luke, 31, is a former engineer with the Royal Navy and has been a Customer Service Advisor for the company since 2014.

Luke said “I was in the Forces for almost a decade, I travelled around the world including a stint in the Falklands, which I loved as a place, but my roots are in Ipswich and I think it’s made the transition easier for me living and working for a major company here.

“I know our father [Martyn} has found the transition back to civilian life quite difficult after 28 years with the Royal Air Force, but I’ve been more relaxed about it, it’s been pretty easy really and I’ve been able to adapt my skills to it.

“The work I do now proactively reaching out to customers can change in an instant to taking calls on faults, but I like that fast-moving element to it, I’ve always been pretty adaptable in my working life.

“There was a time when the Navy wanted me to drive trucks temporarily. This was very different to anything I had done before. I didn’t even have a Provisional License.

“There are elements of my old life I miss, the people for instance and some of the places I visited, but I don’t miss having to be up for 2am to report for duty. As you get older you look for different things in your career, what you want out of work changes.

“While I enjoyed my time with the Royal Navy, I felt it was ‘job done’ for me, I was ready to leave, and I’m pleased to have been able to move on and make a success of something else now with UK Power Network’s support.”

His elder brother, Lee Markwell, 39, is a former Royal Air Force volunteer reserve (training) Officer also now with Customer Services at UK Power Networks.

Lee said: “I left Ipswich to live in Westbury on Trym in Bristol with my family and it was there I became a volunteer reserve training officer looking after the air cadets.

“It was unpaid, but the ceramics company I worked for at the time really encouraged my involvement and I got an immense amount from it.

“When I moved back to Ipswich in the mid-2000s I continued to volunteer. At one stage I was working across the region instructing squadrons here, Felixstowe and Stowmarket ahead of joining UK Power Networks in 2007.

“I am no longer involved as a reservist, my own children became sea cadets and I could no longer continue due to time constraints, but the experience has helped me in my job here at UK Power Networks.

“I think in terms of life skills, the training I have had has made me more organised, you are always looking at the methodology of how you do things and I like providing people I work with coaching and guidance.”
UK Power Networks has a number of reservists working for the company and marked this with a social media campaign for the recent Reserves day on June 21.

Ways in which UK Power Networks supports military personnel include:
- promoting opportunities as a forces-friendly organisation through recruitment and other channels
- supporting the employment of veterans, working with the Career Transition Partnership
- supporting employees who choose to be members of the reserve forces
- actively participating in Armed Forces Day