Making the switch from the Army to civilian life
Utilitywise energy consultant Daniel Maguire made the leap from armed forces to civilian life. How did he do it?
“My transfer into civilian life was a very nerve-wracking experience,” says Daniel when we caught up with him about his experiences. “All I have ever known is being in the Army. I joined straight from school at 16 years old.”
Daniel worked with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) to find his new role at Utilitywise. CTP provides resettlement services to all those transitioning into civilian life, and includes a free recruitment service for ex-military personnel. Utilitywise is actively working with CTP to recruit people leaving the armed forces.
We asked Daniel some questions about transitioning from the armed forces to a career at Utilitywise.
What attracted you to the energy consultant role at Utilitywise?
When I left the Army, I was very nervous and sceptical about what working life outside the Army would be like. I was looking at a variety of different jobs. However, a friend who works at Utilitywise told me about the business, which led me into researching the company. To my surprise, I found everything I was looking for.
I didn’t want to work weekends as in the Army you lose quite a lot of time, so the Monday to Friday, 0900-1700 hours are absolutely gold standard for me. In addition, I’m a very career-focused person, and with Utilitywise being an ever growing business with an abundance of departments and jobs, the scope for career progression is tremendous.
What was your role in the Army?
I had various different roles. I joined the Army straight from school at 16 years old, where I went to the Army Foundation College Harrogate to complete my training. I arrived at Regimental Duty in 2011 in Swanton Morley, as a Trooper in the Light Dragoons. In my seven years in the Army, I deployed on numerous multinational overseas exercises working in a plethora of countries, including Canada, Spain, Gibraltar and Norway. I deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 as a soldier in the Herrick 16 Brigade Reconnaissance Force. During my career, I did a number of jobs such as Trooper, 2ic, section commanding, driving, heavy weapons and a number of G4 roles.
How was your transfer from a military service to a civilian life?
My transfer into civilian life was a very nerve-wracking experience as all I have ever known is being in the army. The CTP resettlement process is very well structured. However, like many aspects of life, you get out what you put into the service. Personally, I chose not to rush into work, because I had developed a lack of job satisfaction towards the latter part of my career. I didn’t want to go into another job that I didn’t enjoy.
When you leave the Army you appreciate the little things that other people take for granted, like the fact you are in your home every night sleeping in your own bed. Not having to shave on a daily basis is a massive perk!
What transferable skills have you found useful in your current role?
Skills you acquire in the Army, especially in a combat role, are in my opinion the reason many service personnel sit on the fence regarding their career and fail to make the jump.
Teamwork is essential at Utilitywise and I have settled in quickly. After being in the services, teamwork comes quite naturally. I didn’t have sales experience when I came for the interview at Utilitywise, but I feel they saw my work ethic and ability to work in a team and hired me, for which I am sincerely grateful.
How helpful were Utilitywise during your induction into the business?
The interview process screamed professionalism and the recruitment team were also friendly and approachable. Ami-Jo from the recruitment team recognised my military background and, because I was nervous, she assured me that I would be able to answer all of the interview questions and relate them back to my job in the Army.
How did you find the training for your role?
There’s a lot of information to learn when working as an energy consultant, as a customer could ask you anything. During the first two weeks at Utilitywise, you are welcomed and meet your training team. The training is classroom-based for two weeks with a couple of tests. The tests are nothing to worry about as you are well equipped and the training team is of the highest standard.
Once you finish your two weeks, you move into the Ignite programme – a further eight weeks of training. You leave your desk for an hour each day to do further training, which might sound a bit overkill but it is needed. With all of this, you feel yourself day by day and week by week, gaining more knowledge and becoming better at your job.
What advice would you give people leaving the armed forces, who are thinking of joining Utilitywise?
The biggest bit of advice I would give to service leavers who are interested in Utilitywise is to believe in yourself and go for it. Utilitywise is a very good company to work for, they are massive in the energy industry and still growing. If you are a hard worker then, regardless of your qualifications, there are plenty of career progression opportunities in the organisation.