Armed Forces and the Logistics Industry
Armed Forces and the Logistics Industry
Saturday 25 June is Armed Forces Day, a chance for the nation to show support for the men and women who make up the armed forces community; from currently serving troops, to service families, veterans, and cadets.
To mark the occasion, we speak to Daniel Harrington, our Assistant Head of Training for England and Wales and former member of the armed forces, about why logistics is a popular career choice for veterans.
Many people leave the armed forces with an HGV licence and could play a role in addressing the shortage of 65k drivers we are currently facing in the UK.
Why is logistics a popular career choice for ex-service personnel?
“It’s a natural fit. There’s always a logistical element in the armed forces, be it Army, Royal Air Force, Navy, or Marines. They all need equipment, food, water, fuel, ammunition, and vehicles moving from the rear to the front. It doesn’t get there without a lorry and the personnel involved in the logistics process.
“There’s a direct transfer of qualifications and skills. If you’re driving a lorry in the army, you will have the same licence needed to drive the same category of vehicle as a civilian.”
What skills make them an ideal fit for the industry?
“Military personnel are good at facing challenges, being adaptable and troubleshooting, which are skills you will need as a logistics professional. It’s also about having the ability to go above and beyond to make the job happen – to improvise, adapt, and overcome.
“There are military qualifications and jobs that are equivalent to those found in civilian logistics, such as Transport Manager, so depending what level you’re at when you leave you should be well prepared.”
What roles can veterans go into?
“Driving, health and safety, compliance, transport management, engineering, workshop technician – these are all roles that ex-military gravitate towards.
“Training also plays a big role in the military; I did lots of instructing during my stint in the Army and it’s a great skill to have if you go into logistics.”
What’s the RHA doing?
“We’ve signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging ourselves as open to employing ex-military personnel and recommend our membership to join us in considering veterans when their skill set is aligned to the relevant job description.
“In our team, the training managers are all ex-military. Myself and four others are ex-army, we have two ex-RAF, one ex-RAF Regiment and one ex-Royal Navy.”
What attracted you to the industry?
“After fourteen years in the army, I started driving. It was the ease of transition that attracted me. I didn’t want to start over so I looked at what I could do already, and I held a category C licence. The Army gave me money for resettlement training, so I used that to upgrade to C+E, and ADR.
“Later, I found an opportunity to become a driver trainer, with my instructional experience getting me though the door. Then the qualifications started coming, such as transport manager, and NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health). I ended up doing three years as a health and safety manager in a warehouse. I’ve been at the RHA for over four years and have progressed from training manager to Assistant Head of Training.”
Do you have any advice for getting started?
“Coming into civilian life, understand you may have to start at the bottom, even if you’ve been high up in the military. However, with your skills, knowledge and experience, the escalation up through the industry could be relatively quick.
“I’ve known people who have left the military after 22 years not knowing what they’re going to do next but there are enough people in this industry who have been there, done that, to help you.
“There are a lot of variables in the transition to becoming a civilian driver, you’ll need to have a C1, C or CE licence and if you want to upgrade to a higher category, you may need a medical too.
“As a service leaver you probably won’t have a driver CPC card. So, depending on when you passed your car test, this could mean just 35 hours training or taking a mod 2 and mod 4 test. You’ll also need a Tachograph card. Once qualified, make sure to contact your local driving agency or haulage firm about jobs – they’ll be very interested these days.”
To find out more about RHA Training, click here. Or to find out how we are attracting new talent into the logistics industry through our RHA Skills Campaign, click here.