At M Group Services, we pride ourselves on supporting the armed forces and we have a high ex-armed forces community across the Group. As part of National Inclusion Week (25 September - 1 October) David Steele, Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) Innovation Technical Content Manager, has taken the time to talk to us about his experiences in both the armed forces and at M Group Services.

When did you serve in the armed-forces and how would you describe your experience?

I served in the Royal Engineers between 1990 and 2004. The armed forces was a lifeline for me after not getting on at school. It gave me the chance to get back into a classroom environment and to discover that I was actually capable of studying and getting results.

Did you work in a particular area?

Yes, so I always loved art from a young age, which is how I fell into the area of technical drawing, which led to drawing maps as a full-time job. My cartography role took me into the intelligence sector, where I had to handle a wide amount of top-secret information such as satellite imagery to provide information to lots of different departments. I also provided a lot of terrain analysis which helped officers to plan manoeuvres. During this time, I won a British Aerospace Award for innovation after submitting a white paper on the theoretical opportunities to create a virtual planning space and digital twin of the theatre of operations. This was a milestone moment for me, especially to be recognised for a technical contribution, given the difficult start I’d had with my own school history.

Do you think your time in the armed forces links to your career now in any way?

I feel that the link between the two is innovation. I’ve always had a curious mind and I like getting stuck into difficult problems. Championing innovation is a huge part of our work in the ESG&I team. It’s beneficial for M Group Services to identify opportunities to improve. When writing about ESG, I use skills which were formally taught during my intelligence training where I learnt to simplify complicated information and provide it in a way that could be easily and quickly understood.

Did you ever find it difficult to move from the armed forces into a different field of work?

Definitely. A lot of people struggle when leaving the forces because it’s an environment in which everything is put in place for you by somebody else. It can be tricky adjusting to doing more things for yourself and not relying on somebody else picking up on mistakes. Service personnel are developed in an environment which is very conscious of rank and progression, and it can take a little while to adjust to the different expectations of civilian life.

How are you finding your current role here at M Group Services?

I really enjoyed working at Morrison Energy Services and was reluctant to leave the team. However, I found the opportunity to add value to an ESG&I role too good to miss. I think I’m settling into my new role well – It’s all very new at the moment so I’m trying to contribute as much as I can while making the most of the great support from lots of people around the Group.

Andy Hunt, Director of Innovation and ESG, said: “I think that David is uniquely qualified to help me and the business identify, collate and present the fantastic things M Group Services does in the field of ESG and Innovation. I very much look forward to working with him to develop his role and ensure our ESG&I excellence reaches the eyes and ears of many.”