Neil Shillito joined Skanska in 2014 as assistant planner on a high-profile building project in London. When Neil left the army, he was a Communications Systems Operator in the Royal Corps of Signals, having served for 22 years.
“When you leave the army, you don’t know what to expect or how it is going to affect you,” says Neil. “Having served in a number of countries, including Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Germany and Brunei, I was looking for a career that I would find challenging, yet rewarding.”
Before the end of his tour of duty, Neil attended a workshop held by the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) at Skanska’s head office in Hertfordshire, which gave an insight into the company and the work it does.
“I decided to enter the construction industry, as I was interested in creating buildings or infrastructure that would last for years to come and benefit generations,” he explains. “The skills required in planning are very similar to those used in the military and require the same level of delegation and problem solving.”
Neil was able to accept his new role at Skanska before he left the army. “Skanska made the adjustment from military to civilian life seamless,” he says. “Before I started the job, I knew what I was going to be doing.
“Having come from a military background, you get used to being able to adapt quickly and get on with the job at hand. But the transition was so smooth, it felt like one day I went to work in an army uniform and the next in a hi-viz jacket and hard hat. It was just like changing from one management team to another.
“Everyone at Skanska is professionally driven and lives the same values. The ethos is very similar to the military – everyone pulls together as a team to get the work done.”
Neil is now project based for four days a week. As part of his development plan, he spends the fifth day studying for his HNC in construction at London South Bank University, sponsored by Skanska.
“People perceive construction as just manual work, but it is so much more. Even if you’re not fully able, the opportunities, both on site and office based, are immense,” he says.