I left the Royal Air Force in 2013 after completing almost 23 years’ service as a Station Fire Officer (SFireO) specialising in providing expert 24/7 airfield crash and structural domestic firefighting cover, as well as providing fire safety compliance and training and advice to the Station Commander and other Station Executives.
Whilst serving in the RAF I completed many UK and Operational tours including the Falklands Islands, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, undertaking dynamic roles ranging from Firefighter, Station Manager, Fire Safety Officer to Theatre Fire Safety Officer at Camp Bastion.
UK tours included 4 years at the Defence Fire Training Establishment at Manston, managing and designing an Apprenticeship in Aviation Operations on the Ground for Trade Group 8, as well as teaching various fire service courses.
Whilst serving I was lucky enough to gain part time employment as a Fire Safety Consultant for Lawrence Webster Forrest who contracted me to undertake comprehensive fire risk assessments and provide guidance to Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. I also gained further part time employment at Suffolk and Norfolk Probation Service as an Unpaid Work Supervisor looking after offenders who carry out community service as part of their court order.
Since joining Zurich Insurance I have completed an 18 month training program, which resulted in being successfully signed off by our Risk Engineering Technical Centre (RETC) as a Q2P qualified Risk Analyst to undertake risk assessments which include, Fire, Security, Flood, Business Interruption and Business Resilience.
Transition to Civvy Life
I personally found the transition difficult as officially I was still serving in the RAF and there was so much to handover prior to leaving as well as preparing for my new life.
Adapting to change is one of the key attributes we have, dealing with problems, prioritising workloads, finding solutions and being able to act in a way which stands us out from the rest. The skills I acquired whilst being an Apprenticeship Manager at Manston, looking out for others and being open and honest has ensured cohesion within my new team and most of all respect.
Working from home and being independent has been tough, however having the skills of self-discipline, leadership, drive and enthusiasm has ensured I can give Zurich 100% commitment.
I have also undertaken secondary duties away from my normal day job by being involved in several high profile projects and charity support days which are highly valued by my employers.
Why I Left the Service
There comes a time in your life where decisions have to be made and your priorities change including personal circumstances, being away from my family weeks at a time and wanting stability without having to go OOA every 12-18 months.
This is when I decided to contact a good friend of mine who has been with Zurich for the best part of 15 years, to see if the company were recruiting. Fortunately for me they were looking to recruit a Risk Analyst to cover the area where I was living. Following a successful interview I was offered the job, this is where my new career with Zurich started, 16th January 2013.
Networking with Zurich employees before and after leaving the service is very much an essential part to success and also to any future advancement.
Skills transferred from RAF days
Risk management: Identifying risks to the customer and being able to give expert advice in the control measures required to reduce the likelihood of a risk occurring.
Management & Leadership: Able to manage workloads, take control of any situation, carry out training and development, train other colleagues and deputise for my Team Leader.