Sector focus: Why the energy industry could be a great choice for ex-forces personnel

Published on: 23 Nov 2021

If you're leaving the armed forces after a period of distinguished service, it can be difficult to settle back into civilian life. However, if you're able to find a role that utilises the skills and experiences you've picked up while in the British Army, Royal Navy or Royal Air Force, this can make for a much smoother transition than if you're to start something completely new.

There are a range of careers that are likely to be available to you, depending on the role you performed in the forces. And certain personnel may find their skills transfer easily to the energy industry. 

Whether this is in public utilities or the oil and gas sector, people with backgrounds in engineering, logistics and communications are likely to already possess the special skills that energy firms need.

What's more, the professional qualities that the armed forces teaches its personnel can also make them highly attractive options to employers, especially if they will be working in highly sensitive areas of national infrastructure that are likely to require security clearances.

The skills ex-forces personnel can offer to the sector

There are two types of skills that ex-forces personnel are likely to possess that will be desirable in the energy sector: technical expertise and personal qualities. On the technical side, engineering skills are in high demand among employers, with tens of thousands of experienced professionals set to be needed over the coming decade. Those coming from military backgrounds may be particularly well-placed to take advantage of this.

Marine engineers, for example, are likely to have a unique set of skills that will be invaluable to firms operating in sectors such as oil and gas or offshore wind. However, those with skills in areas such as communications, electrical and mechanical engineering will also be in demand.

On the personal side, soft skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, confidence, attention to detail and accountability all matter to employers in this sector, just as they do in the military. The discipline you'll have picked up from a life in the armed forces will stand you in good stead and be highly attractive to firms in this sector. What's more, your armed forces skills and experiences can also help ensure you pass any security clearance checks that may be required for sensitive roles.

The opportunities available to former army personnel

Many firms in the energy sector have long recognised the advantages of taking on ex-armed forces personnel, and several large employers have signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant to demonstrate their commitment to these individuals. 

Major energy and infrastructure providers including National Grid, EDF Energy, Scottish Power and UK Power Networks have all put their names to the pledge, along with many other firms in the energy and oil and gas sectors, and this hasn't gone unnoticed by the government.

For example, Ian Westcott, senior national account manager at the Department of Work and Pensions' National Employer and Partnership Team, has stated: "The armed forces community can contribute real value to a business with their wealth of skills and experience. It's admirable that the energy and utilities sector are one of the first to take an inclusive approach and become an armed forces-friendly industry."

Therefore, those looking for a new and exciting challenge should consider these options carefully when transitioning back into civilian life.

Browse our range of security cleared energy and oil and gas jobs today.