How the OA Employment Symposium Helped this Former Colonel to Find His Next Career

Nick Channer, a former Colonel in the Royal Regiment of Scotland, networked with confidence after attending an OA career event, leading to his first civilian role.

Nick served in the Army for 35 years, leaving in June 2018. He spent the last four years as Chief of Staff for British Forces Germany, responsible for the Army’s move back to the UK. Nick knew networking would be vital in starting the next chapter in his life, but being based abroad made this challenging.

When Nick was back in the UK and saw the OA Employment in York being advertised he immediately signed up. This career event in the North brings together transitioning and former officers with employers and industry experts, so they can network and take their next step towards a new career.

Nick said: “The OA Employment Symposium in York was excellent and the foundation of my networking success. It gave me my first contacts outside the Army and the confidence and skills to network effectively. I really recommend this event to other Service Leavers.”

Nick was introduced to BuildForce, an Alliance of construction employers, industry bodies and service charities that connects Service leavers and veterans with job opportunities in the construction field. This chain of introductions included Angela Forbes, Lendlease Commercial Director and BuildForce Chair, and Andy Parker, Morgan Sindall Director of Defence, who was instrumental in developing Nick’s perception of the construction sector, identifying areas in which his expertise could be used.

Via BuildForce, Nick’s first interview was with Gary Sullivan and Mark Dobson, Chairman and Chief Executive respectively at Wilson James Limited, which is a leading player in the provision of security services at corporate offices, airports and cultural heritage sites across the UK as well as construction logistics.

The company was expanding so Mark needed a Chief of Staff to support him in the day-to-day running of the business and strategic planning.

Nick said: “This is the perfect role for me because it maps almost exactly my responsibilities in the Army, but in a civilian environment. Networking was pivotal in me landing this role. I had previously applied for positions in the open job market, but the employers tended to prefer people with more direct sector experience. In this instance, my networking enabled a connection to see direct value in employing me and for a personal relationship.


Follow in Nick’s footsteps
Learn to network effectively at the OA Employment Symposium in York. You will meet many useful contacts and learn about the opportunities available to officers. The event is on Wednesday 11th July at the University of York, Campus East.

Register for the York Symposium now.