Jon Hughes is a senior engineer for Kier Infrastructure Professional Services, our in-house design and engineering consultancy business. Jon currently works on the Sellafield retreatment plant scheme and HS2, among other high-profile projects across the business.

Here, as part of our focus on Armed Forces Week, Jon reflects on the start of his career in the military and his transition away from the army into the civil engineering industry.

“My journey started aged 19 in The Corps of the Royal Engineers. On completion of my basic training, I continued military engineering training where I learned all about explosives, watermanship, field fortification techniques and mine clearance. I was then posted to the Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) where I sat an intensive military draftsman course, gaining an ONC in Building Studies and AutoCAD. 

"Upon leaving the army in 2003, I pursued a career in engineering, and started by enrolling in a full-time BEng (Hons) Degree in Civil Engineering at Salford University.

"Following my graduation in 2006, I gained a further ten years’ experience working for various formwork, falsework and scaffold design companies and decided that I wanted to become chartered with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Unfortunately, my employer at the time was not able to offer the support needed to achieve this.

"At this point in my career my old senior military instructor from the RSME reached out to me – he was then working as CAD manager for Kier Professional Services. I was put in contact with a team working out of the Liverpool Speke office where I went along for an interview. I liked what I saw and what was being offered to me, so decided to join Kier Professional Services (KPS) as a design engineer.

"Since joining KPS I have been lucky enough to work on some prestigious projects such as HS2, M6 Smart Motorways, Sellafield, Mount Street, York Street and First Light pavilion to name but a few.

"KPS fully supported my career aspirations to become a Chartered Engineer. I started by achieving Engineering Technician (Eng Tech) status and then progressed to Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status.

"I was further supported through a part time day release MSc in Temporary Works and Construction Method Engineering at City University, London, alongside my day job.

"The MSc was required as a booster to my educational base for chartered status with the ICE. Part way through this two-year (part time) course I was promoted to senior engineer.

"This journey was challenging at times, but the resilience and determination taught to me in the forces combined with the support from KPS helped forge where I am today. In future I plan to undertake my Career Appraisal, Chartered Professional Review and become a Chartered Engineer.

"I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the civil engineering and construction industry to any military staff looking at potential career paths once they have left the services. There are many transferable skills which service personnel can bring to the industry and plenty of roles available too.

"Kier is also signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant, which includes several key pledges to support the Armed Forces community, including providing job and training opportunities to people with a connection to the Armed Forces, supporting members of the Reserve Forces and running careers events and employability workshops for ex-services staff.”

Find out more about how Kier supports the Armed Forces Community