When I left the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) after 10 great years as a vehicle mechanic I had no idea what civilian life had in store for me.
Following a decade where fixing tanks and running up and down hills in combat boots was the norm, it would be fair to say that I didn’t know what the future held for me. In retrospect, I hadn’t given it enough thought and I really didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do in my new career.
I tried several different jobs, ranging from bar work to being a HGV driver but nothing seemed to flick my switches in the same way that the army had. Something was missing and I knew it, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
I was having a beer with an old squaddie mate of mine one evening and as we chewed the fat we got talking about how different things are between life in the army and civvie street.
I was having a good old moan about the day job, how nobody understands my squaddie sense of humour and how everyone is just there for the pay cheque, not giving 110% and not helping each other out. It seemed that all I heard day after day was “It’s not my job mate!” or “I’m knocking off in half an hour!” Nobody at all wanted to be part of something bigger than themselves. As far I could tell, there was a real lack of commitment or camaraderie in the civilian workforce.
I was therefore surprised when my friend found himself in disagreement with my views. He told me about his job as a crane operator and as an appointed person working for the largest crane hire company in the country – Ainscough Crane Hire.
He told me more about what his job entailed and then told me that there was a job vacancy and that he thought I’d be the perfect candidate. I had experience working with cranes before in my army days and I was pretty familiar with how to safely work with just nuts, bolts and wires. It occurred to me that if I could fix a Challenger 2 Main Battle tank then I might also have the right skills to fix a crane.
I was really impressed with the working environment my friend had described. I took the plunge and applied for the job, and was very pleased to be invited for an interview.
When the interview took place, I felt confident and I presented myself well. In the army you learn the importance of always speaking clearly and considering what you want to say before you open your mouth. Once the formal introductions were out of the way the interview started to become more relaxed and I felt positive that I was in with a good chance of landing the job.
I didn’t have to wait long to find out. Within a week I was informed that I had been successful and within a month I was ready for my first day as a crane fitter.
Ainscough’s induction process was brilliant and soon I was right into the swing of it – the full hammer and tongs. So many of my trade skills were transferable from my time in the (REME). What made the job even better was that lots of my colleagues were also from a military background.
It was great to find a job where your colleagues shared such an important experience, something that brought us closer together. I began to put my finger on why I was enjoying life at Ainscough so much – that thing that was missing was no longer missing at all. I was back where I belonged.
It’s no secret that it can often be difficult for ex-military personnel to adjust to civilian life. It is therefore a huge credit to Ainscough that it has created an environment that is so welcoming to people who have served, and provides them with the chance to forge rewarding careers with great opportunities for progression.
There are many similarities between working at Ainscough and being the in the army – both demand exceptional standards and place a big emphasis on team work, and it is up to the more experienced members of staff to show leadership to help new recruits find their feet.
Key to Ainscough’s success is the pride each member of staff takes in the work we do – our depots and facilities are maintained to the highest standards, as are our cranes and support vehicles. This approach mirrors the army values and standards that were engrained into me by those training corporals all those years ago. That’s what makes Ainscough the right choice for me, many of my ex-army colleagues and anyone who is looking to join a company that gives you a sense a pride and camaraderie on a daily basis.
“Make the Safe Choice.”
Gary Wood (Crane Fitter)