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Dec 13, 2018

Rising Above The Rest


Zowie Dixon discusses her career journey from the RAF to Logistics Manager with Enva, the UK's largest hazardous waste solutions provider, as well as the qualities that ex-military candidates bring to commercial roles...

I started my career in the Royal Air Force in 2003. I did my basic training at RAF Halton and trade training at DST Leconfield. Before I joined I viewed myself as lacking strength but my time in the RAF showed me that I wanted to be more than a follower - I wanted to have an identity, a skill that I could nurture and develop, someone I could be proud to be. The challenges and the team working elements of a military career force you to view your strengths and abilities in a very different way.

My chosen trade was Mechanical Transport Driver. I was trained to drive all classes of HGVs and PSVs, obtained my ADR licence, drove all types of vehicles, and no day was ever the same. I travelled throughout my career, spending time in the Falkland Islands and Norway, learning aircraft refuelling and operating airfield support vehicles. I learnt key skills, teamwork and responsibility, which enabled me to grow into the manager I am today.

The RAF welcomed my family and treated them as part of the team. The importance of a happy employee with their family around them is something the military do very well. The schooling and childcare on base is affordable and provides brilliant opportunities for the kids.

I left the Service in 2009 but remained in transport, where my passion started. During my transition I used my Enhanced Learning Credits to achieve civilian recognised qualifications that enabled me to transfer my skills to new employers. I am now a qualified Logistics Manager with a degree in Business Management, a Chartered Member of the Institute of Logistics and Transport, and work with the UK’s largest Hazardous Waste provider.

My service career has given me determination and strengths that I can use throughout my working career as a civilian. I encourage ex-military applicants for roles with the company and give them the exposure they need to smoothly transition from the Service to mainstream working. I work with many like-minded people from Forces backgrounds - collectively we enjoy continued camaraderie and feel reassured by being open about our experiences.

There are many reasons why I recruit ex-military people, but the principle ones are:

(1) Leadership

Military thinking is suited to the ‘battleground’ nature of commercial business – regularly dealing with factors beyond our control but staying focused on delivering success through periods of uncertainty. Developing and maintaining a disciplined, confident approach to management is something that veterans can translate to a commercial situation to great effect.

(2) Communication

Clear and concise communication is necessary across all of the armed forces to ensure operations run smoothly, often in stressful or hostile conditions, and is a skill that translates across all industries. The military teaches you how to present complex issues in a way that is easy to understand - it’s a crucial discipline that helps drive decision-making.

(3) Being driven

Military personnel are required to be task and results-orientated in order to inspire and motivate the team around them to work in a dynamic and productive way. Roles in the military can often change every 12 to 18 months, which also means that military personnel are constantly taking in new information, learning quickly and adapting even faster. These qualities are equally welcomed within the commercial world.

(4) Service ethos

Inherent values of integrity, honesty and responsibility characterise many roles and positions within the armed forces. Being willing and able to learn, with a ‘can-do’ attitude to hard work is just one part of the innate skill set that can be adapted to suit a variety of civilian roles.

(5) Comradeship

A palpable skill amongst current and former serving members. Whether it means being an active team player or a leader considering all ways to approach a task, being able to seamlessly connect multiple opinions into one positive direction is a daily necessity in most roles.

I won’t ever forget what the RAF service did for me as a person and will always have a special place in my memories of my time served, continuing to rise above the rest.

Enva want to hear from ex-military candidates for HGV Driver roles operating from their Nottinghamshire base. Click here to learn more.

 

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