A career in the Army is like no other – every day is different and I spent my life preparing for the unexpected. Leaving an occupation I loved was difficult as I didn’t know how I was going to find another career to match up.

When I had completed my 24 years’ service in 2016, I knew that I had accumulated a lot of skills, but I didn’t know how I was going to demonstrate them to an employer outside of the Armed Forces.

I had heard a lot of prejudices about ex-servicemen, such as us all suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or having anger issues – and these misconceptions don’t help us to find work. On top of that, I had been used to communicating with soldiers for more than half my life – so when I attended interviews, it was difficult to distinguish between what was ‘military speak’ and therefore incomprehensible to the outside world and what terminology I should be using to impress a prospective employer.

I realised that gaining experience was crucial – and that I just needed somebody to give me a chance.

Through the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM), I studied for a Level 4 FM qualification and the NEBOSH General Certificate with other qualifications in Compliance and Environmental Protection. And it was during this time that I met with one of the Operations Directors at BAM FM, who was happy to offer me some experience on one of his sites. This was just the lifeline I needed.

It was at BAM FM that I realised just how many transferrable skills I had: from reactive planning, to team management, mentoring, record keeping and communication. I was also highly experienced in crisis management – although on a different scale to what is required in premises management. I am always ready for whatever issues come my way and I resolve them in a calm and collected manner.

I had been selective about the company I wanted to work for, and it was BAM FM’s ethos of open collaboration with colleagues and customers and delivering what was promised that attracted me, as I possess the same values.

The company also offers great prospects and I can see the opportunities available to me at BAM FM. I have already completed two courses during my first year and I have a desire to keep moving up the ladder.

Adjusting to life outside of the Army

A career in the Armed Forces is something you’ll never be able to replace. I spent days kayaking along rivers, cycling down mountains and working with explosives. Eighteen months on, I am still adjusting to a 9-5 routine – and it’s been a big change for my family too.

Since joining BAM FM, I’ve learnt a new way of managing people – asking your team to drop and give you 100 press-ups doesn’t go down so well here! But I’ve been very lucky. We’ve got a great team here at Chilton Trinity School who all pull together to get the work done.

Working as a Premises Manager, I really enjoy how reactive and busy the role is. I look for improvements in the way things are done to try and find better ways of working. And with my line manager’s guidance, we have made big changes to improve standards, which have been recognised by the school’s head teacher.

I’m grateful for the opportunities BAM FM has offered me and I’m looking forward to a great career here.

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About the author

Stuart Venables

Premises Manager, BAM FM

Stuart joined the Royal Pioneer Corps at the age of 19, working all over the world in various roles on construction sites. He later joined the Bomb Disposal Team as an asset manager, where he was responsible for £500 million worth of equipment in 16 locations across Europe. When he left the Army after 24 years in February 2016, he found it difficult to demonstrate his transferrable skills in the corporate world. BAM FM offered him some work experience while he studied for several facilities management related qualification before taking him on full time as a Premises Manager at Chilton Trinity School in Bridgwater, Somerset. At BAM, we recognise the value serving personnel and veterans bring to our business and have signed the Armed Forces Covenant.

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