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My Stantec Story: Transitioning from a military career with Neil Hulme

January 09, 2024

Neil, a consultant within our Water team, shares his experience having joined Stantec after his time in the British Army

In the My Stantec Story series, our designers, engineers, marketers, project managers, and leaders come together to share how their career journeys at Stantec have shaped their lives and moved them closer to their goals.

Where did you hear about Stantec?

I discovered Stantec at a careers fair I attended in 2022 as part of my resettlement from the British Army—I have an automotive engineering background from almost three decades of service. Continuing within engineering was one option for my next career, but I was open to trying something new. 

 What was your experience of the recruitment progress?

After chatting at the careers fair, I thought Stantec could be an option to mix my engineering knowledge with something different. The recruitment team followed up over email and this resulted in a virtual interview to see if I would be a good fit in the Company rather than interviewing me for a specific job.

Although my laptop crashed a few minutes in, the interview went well and felt more like a relaxed conversation than a formal process. The recruitment team followed up to confirm that the team liked what I had to offer and were looking at where I would be suitable. I was offered a role as a consultant, and after looking at commuting options I picked the Reading office.

My line manager rang me the week before my start date, welcomed me to the Company, and confirmed everything was in place for my start. Stantec kept the dialogue alive with regular updates, keeping me informed at every step, and everything was all ready to go when I arrived on my first day.

How do Stantec’s core values resonate with you?

For 27 years I followed the Army’s values and standards—including Respect for Others, Integrity, and Discipline—that work from both an individual and team perspective and align with Stantec’s values.

In the military, discipline is necessary to do tasks properly or to set the right example for others to follow. Treating others appropriately and being honest with your team, even when making difficult decisions, is key. Applying the Army’s core values helps bring the team together to successfully achieve their aim.

I can see those values reflected here at Stantec. To me, our four core values of putting people first, doing what’s right, being better together, and being driven to achieve not only align with the values I followed whilst in the Army, but they also progress on a step further. Stantec’s values help to get the best out of our teams, keep them safe, and give them flexibility to find a better way of performing the task.

How has your transition been supported?

From my first day at Stantec I’ve felt welcomed. My line manger pointed out some colleagues to get in touch with during my first few weeks and recommended the Introduction to the UK Water Industry course (run by the Institute of Water) to help develop my industry knowledge. One person in her team was also ex-military, so it was great to have that connection.

My first few months saw me assisting with projects for Northumbrian Water and Thames Water. During this time I was shown a range of Stantec processes, with colleagues always being happy to assist. Part way through the year I moved teams, and it was a happy surprise to discover that my current line manager is also ex-military. I’ve been working with my team and Scottish Water for the last six months, supporting in several areas.

Both my team members and my line manager have been excellent at showing me the ropes, from Stantec procedures or asset management techniques to how Scottish Water methods differ from other UK water companies.

How does Stantec support applicants from the military?

Stantec have a UK Military and Veterans support group, which is open to employees with a military connection—from ex-military to current serving reservists or their family members.

The support group helps these connections, offering advice to a colleague who is interested in joining the reserves, explaining military abbreviations to a family member, or helping those joining from the military settle in as they start with Stantec. The group also spreads the word to the military community about Stantec through external channels and events. This helps people find out about the Company and then consider a role here for the next step in their career.

How do your military skills benefit Stantec?

My military career embedded into me characteristics such as reliability, punctuality, working as a team and setting the right standard. Twenty-seven years of being on parade at the right time, in the correct uniform for the task, and with the right equipment isn’t something that disappears overnight when one leaves the military.

I can prioritise tasks, problem solve, and plan what is needed to complete them. I’m comfortable juggling several ongoing tasks at the same time or having to quickly change to a new task—during my operational deployments a colleague’s life could literally depend on my completing a new task as quickly as possible. 

When I work with my team to get the task completed correctly, it’s not about what I’ve done individually to achieve the result—it’s more important for the team to complete it together.

Knowing what to do when your team is struggling with a task, wanting to give in at 3 AM in the pouring rain, is a transferable skill—it shows your ability to make the right decision under difficult circumstances. These skills will help you thrive in your next career.

What advice can you give to military considering joining Stantec?

During your military career you’ll have gained a range of skills, some of which you may not even realise straight away. Knowing what to do when your team is struggling with a task, wanting to give in at 3 a.m. in the pouring rain, is a transferable skill—it shows your ability to make the right decision under difficult circumstances. These skills will help you thrive in your next career. Don’t take them for granted or undersell what you can do.

What are your ambitions for the future at Stantec?

My short term goals are to improve my industry knowledge. I took a bit of a risk changing industries, but I’ve steadily developed my knowledge and look forward to improving over the next year or two. Longer term, I would like to progress up a career level and lead a team of my own before retiring—hopefully at around age 60, so I can relax for a few years before I officially become an old-age pensioner!

At Stantec, we put people first, and for Neil, that means recognising skills acquired in the military that can be applied at Stantec. If you want to start your career at Stantec, visit Careers to find out more. 

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