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Armed Forces Day: A chance to show your support

26 June 2020  
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The UK Armed Forces Day will be celebrated on Saturday 27th June 2020. The occasion is a chance to show your support for the men and women who make up the armed forces community, from currently serving troops and their families to veterans and cadets.

If the Coronavirus crisis has taught us anything it is that we are much stronger when we act as one and pull together in the same direction. It has highlighted the amazing work that our frontline teams from across all sectors are doing to protect our nation. The national support provided to them during this crisis has increased the morale of those individuals who are working tirelessly, helping to overcome the challenge we face. The Armed Forces are no different, active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year, our Armed Forces serve to defend the UK and its interests year in year out. Showing your support to the Armed Forces provides a much-valued morale boost for our troops and their families.

You might be wondering why specifically are the Young ‘Rail’ Professionals publishing this article? Well first and foremost we of course would like to show our support and thanks to this amazing community, but we also wanted to take the opportunity to communicate why we believe the rail industry is a great place to work for ex-forces, and why ex-forces are a great asset to the railway.

A changing of uniform, a changing of family, but continuing to deliver an ever-important purpose for the interests of our nation and its people.  

The rail industry is much more than just tracks and trains. In fact, its most valuable asset, like the military, is its people and why they do what they do. The feeling of being part of a family, being part of the bigger picture, and making a real difference is what drives our forces to complete some of the most demanding tasks imaginable. This feeling of team ethos, delivering work as part of a family, and delivering outcomes which better the lives of so many is not what only makes the railway a great place to work, but what makes it a great place for ex forces to work.

The railway is a complex system and as such requires a complex and diverse workforce. The variety of roles required to ensure the industry operates as planned is mind blowing, from train operations to engineering, human resources to digital innovation, project management to customer services, construction management to legal services, there is a place for every skill set here.

Many attributes such as teamwork, discipline, leadership, time management and determination, all deemed essential to the military, are also highly sought after in the safety critical and high-pressured environment of the rail industry. This makes ex-forces a great asset to the industry.

Identifying the benefit that ex-forces can bring to the industry, many organisations working throughout the rail industry support the Armed Forces through helping ex-forces reintegrate into civilian careers in the rail industry. They work closely with the Career Transition Partnership, the Officers Association and support the Armed Forces Military Covenant. Furthermore, some organisations have dedicated ex-forces career transition programmes and there are a whole host of military related career fairs.


Here are a couple of messages from some of our YRP ex-forces colleagues:

Ben Ellis – YRP North West Chair, Production Manager at Siemens Mobility and Ex Royal Navy Aeronautical Engineer

I left the RN in 2011 and moved into civil aviation. The biggest thing I missed about the RN was the camaraderie and I wasn’t getting that from civil aviation. When I joined the Railway (Northern Rail) the first thing I noticed was that it was back, and that I was surrounded with like-minded people that you could share stories with and work hard while enjoying your work at the same time. The team bond that you can only develop through living, working and going away with the same people was creeping back in and I found myself getting involved in more outside of work activities which strengthened the bond further. The Railway has also given me the structure for progression that I enjoyed; I can see the next goal to work towards which has led to me climbing the career ladder from a Technician to a Production Manager with Siemens.  It’s been a great move for me, and I recommend it highly

Photo taken at HMS Raleigh – Royal Navy Basic Training, 2002

Lee Paine – Former YRP into Rail Manager L&SE, Service Engineer GTR, Ex Infantry Lance Corporal in the British Army (2012 – 2018)

One of the main reasons for leaving the Army was in the hopes of joining the railway industry, a few close friends gave me an insight into the many benefits and perks of the industry as well as the fact that the railway likes to employ ex-military. The rail industry is just like a family, I have met so many new people who I would consider friends for life. The scope for progression is clear and achievable, if you are passionate about where you want to take your career and work hard the sky really is the limit! I was proud to have served in the British Army and I stand just as proud in the rail industry. To those looking at making railway their new career path, I could not recommend joining this industry enough.



Raj Basi – National Maintenance Manager at DB Cargo (UK) Limited and YRP Member. Ex Royal Navy Aeronautical Engineer

I left the Royal Navy in 2008 in the height of the financial crisis, but I was fortunate enough to have been successful in an interview and offered a job at Toton TMD as a locomotive maintainer in “civvy street” prior to my leave date.  I quickly realised that the skills I had acquired in the armed forces transferred seamlessly into the railway and I had moved from one family to another. Fast forward 12 years within DB Cargo UK and having carried out a wide and varied amount of roles both home and abroad, I would recommend anyone leaving the armed forces to look at pursuing a career in the railway!

Photo taken in Basra, Iraq - 2007




Article written by Jacob Cooper, YRP National Executive Committee and Infrastructure Development Project Manager at Network Rail. Ex Royal Navy Aeronautical Engineer

Photo taken in South Africa during Atlantic Patrol Tasking South undertaking anti-piracy and anti-drug smuggling missions along the West Coast of Africa

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