From military might to wind power - Career swap for armed forces veteran

Richard Beck, former British Army Royal Engineer and now operations and maintenance package manager at Vattenfall.

Richard Beck, former British Army Royal Engineer and now operations and maintenance package manager at Vattenfall. - Credit: Supplied by Vattenfall

Transitioning back to 'civvy street' after a career in the armed forces can be daunting - as former British Army Royal Engineer Richard Beck well knows.

But the 43-year-old from Happisburgh said there were more opportunities in today's job market than many of the 14,000 people who leave the armed forces each year realise.

Mr Beck left the army 10 years ago after seven years in the army.

Speaking as the country marked Armed Forces Day on June 25, he said: "Even after just seven years, leaving the military was a lot to get my head around, such as deciding what to do, applying for jobs and how to re-establish my career.

"The resettlement package, guidance and training opportunities provided were very good and I took every opportunity to attend courses, gain certificates and glean advice. Nevertheless, starting with a blank sheet of paper was scary."

Mr Beck took up a job with Swedish wind energy giant Vattenfall which is building two huge wind farms off the north Norfolk coast called Boreas and Vanguard. 

He now works as an operations and maintenance package manager, said there was a lot of "common ground" between the military and offshore wind industry. 

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He said: “I think the fairly obvious transferable skills are technical, such as engineering, hydraulic electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.

“There are so many opportunities for young people and especially anyone ex-military.

Mr Beck said he was pleased the firm had recently become a silver award holder of the Armed Forces Covenant, which is a promise to ensure those who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.

A Vattenfall spokesman said at least 6pc of the company's workforce had come from an armed forces background since it signed up to the covenant in 2019. 

Dujon Goncalves-Collins, a senior strategy advisor at Vattenfall, said: “If we support ex-military to transfer their expertise into a fast-expanding industry, it not only supports them, but it is a huge benefit for our business.

“Vattenfall’s commitment to support former military personnel is part of an industry wide drive to grow offshore wind deployment, and to increase those directly employed in the sector by 2030."