Military into Civilian Life - Lee Buckle

Date: Thursday August 22, 2019 at 2:55pm

Thank you for speaking with NCNB today…You served in the King’s Royal Hussars, how long did you serve for and what made you choose to join the Army?  

I joined the Army in May 2005 and left in May 2013 so I served for 8 years. My parents brought me some toy tanks when I was young which I was obsessed with so I guess it stemmed from there. I was also fascinated with the Army at school, in particular with some of the historic battles such as the Falklands and first Gulf war. My Grandad also served in the RAF during the second world war & I loved listening to his stories growing up. I have always been into my fitness so the thought of being paid to stay fit and travel really appealed to me more than anything else. One of my best friends was in the REME and he would come home at weekends and tell me about his army life which I was very envious of.

   

What was your time like serving in the Military?

It was amazing. An unforgettable part of my life. I made friends for life. I know a lot of people expect you to say that but I really did. It gave me some invaluable skills and it grew my confidence no end. When I joined I was petrified and I remember thinking to myself during my basic training ‘how the hell am I going to get through this?’ as it was relentless.

There was no respite and the standards for everything  was so high I just wasn’t used to it. I also had some incredible experiences with my regiment both in and outside of the UK. Some highlights in the UK was completing my weapons intructors and drill instructors courses. Going to Bovington for a 2 year Training Instructor posting was an enjoyable time and spending a period of time with our regimental Close Reconissance Troop in the BOC (Brigade Operations Company) was a great experience being in amongst the brigades elite soldiers. 

   

Travelling is nothing unusual to the Armed Forces, deploying to places that your normal person would not go to. What is the most memorable place you have travelled?

I was very fortunate to travel to some very memorable places. Places like South Africa, Canada and the Falklands. These places were huge highlights for me for various reasons but I would have to say Iraq during Telic 10 would be my most memorable for both good and bad reasons. Good reasons in that it was quite something to experience an operational tour in a place like Iraq. We grew very close, not just as a Troop but also as a Squadron and as a Regiment.

I also saw us achieve a lot of good things over there within the local communities and keeping people safe. From a bad point of view it was very hostile. We unfortunately lost some very good people within our Battlegroup which was tragic for us out there. Some of my close friends also got badly injured so that part of it was not pleasant at all. That said all these experiences allowed me to appreciate my family and friends much more than I did. Also life in general. Sometimes we cruise and plod through life without realising how lucky we are.

   

When leaving the Military in 2013, what was your transition like and did you have an idea of what you wanted to do in Civvy Street?

No, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Certainly not initially anyway. Even though I was in an armoured Cavalry regiment I was never very good with my hands and so I knew I didn’t really want to do a ‘trade’ type of job. I had 12 months to plan my exit and so I started to research the type of role which would suit me best. The Army were very supportive in offering me resettlement courses and helping me plan things but much of the preperations were done by myself.

I soon realised that because I enjoyed the ‘social’ side of work I felt I could be quite good in field based sales as it would involve meeting and speaking to new people. So I put lots and lots of effort into researching these types of roles and found that software was quite a lucrative industry to be in. Once I had found the area I wanted to target the rest was easier. Undoubtedly I really think the beginning was the hardest – trying to decide what I wanted to do. I am now very fortunate to work for a wonderful company called Access Group, who are one of the top UK software companies.

   

Upon leaving you were offered 2 jobs from your first 2 interviews. What advice would you offer anyone leaving the Forces?

Yes I was initially quite nervous about going to interviews as I was doubting what value I could add to a ‘civvy’ company with no real corporate experience. However I quickly realised that most companies love military leavers as they know and appreciate the skills we can bring. I attended two interviews and was offered both jobs. I needn’t have worried as just being myself, talking about my experience in the army, showing passion for what I had done and showing passion in what I wanted to achieve moving forward was enough. Quite often companies recruit ‘people’ first rather than recruiting for a role specifically so providing you can come across in the right way you will always have every chance.

 

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us, any final words or wisdom you would like to share with the Armed Forces Community for 2019?

Try not to choose a job because you think that’s all you can do. Lot’s of military leavers accept ‘mundane’ jobs because they don’t feel they are worthy of other roles or careers. Think big and aim your goals higher. Back yourselves and enjoy the experience as you’ll be amazed by the results you’ll get.

Make sure you go into interviews prepared. By that I mean do your research into the company you are speaking to, their history, their industry, their competitors and their Senior Board members. The more you can find out the better. You should also get yourselves set up on LinkedIn as 80-90% of civilians now use this platform to network, job hunt, research companies and recruiters also use it to view candidate information (people like me and you). It’s a great tool and the more you can become familiar with it the better.

More importantly than anything though, you’ve also got to show passion. Showing passion and desire can leapfrog you ahead of other candidates who may have more experience than you. One of my old Directors once said to me “Give me a person with an average ability but with a burning desire and I’ll give you a winner everytime”.

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