Celebrating Armed Forces Week

20th June 2023

Reading time 5 minutes

From Army to Security Contract Manager

In celebration of the Armed Forces Week, we have interviewed a few Carlisle employees that have transitioned from the armed forces to civilian life. In this article, we are interviewing our security contract manager at BBC Studioworks, Taiyib Henry, who joined the forces at 21 as a private soldier and left as a lance corporal 6 years later.

Can you describe your transition from the armed forces to civilian life? What were the biggest challenges you faced during this period, and how did you overcome them?

My transition was more mentally challenging as I feared unemployment. I was always questioning myself if my skills and intelligence were good enough to survive civvy street. Therefore, the biggest challenge I thought I was facing was having the ability to convince employers that I could contribute to their organisation.

I generally overcome my fears by keeping active such as going to the gym and running. My partner and family were also very supportive and encouraged me to never give up, which really helped me give it my best to get the job I wanted.

How have the skills and experiences you gained in the armed forces influenced your work or daily life as a civilian? Can you provide specific examples?

I have always been a self-disciplined individual in a controlled environment. However, the army has pushed me both mentally and physically, I did things I never thought possible which influenced my ability to get the job done regardless of the circumstances. I have learnt to always keep my standards up and be consistent at work.

What transferable skills did you acquire during your military service that have been particularly valuable in your civilian career? How do you apply these skills in your current role?

In the military every soldier had to cover guard duties, which I did not like. However, I still performed when it was my turn. One of the most valuable skills I learnt was being consistent and disciplined.

How has your military background shaped your approach to problem-solving and decision-making? Can you give an example of a situation where you utilized these skills outside of the military?

Very pragmatic approach to work, you are only as strong as your weakest link, and we had that in the military also. I have learnt to always be mindful of individual and team strengths and weaknesses to delegate tasks accordingly and obtain the best possible results.

In what ways has your military experience helped you adapt to new environments and work effectively within diverse teams? Can you share a specific instance where these skills were advantageous in?

Through exercise, I have learnt we all have a part to play. I was fortunate to be part of a joint exercise with the Navy and Air Force. Meaning all 3 services work together to achieve a common goal, in whatever capacity. We also got posted to new units if our skills are required anywhere there is an army base, with all different back grounds, religion and sexual orientation.

This enabled me to be more open-minded with individuals and team members I come into contact with. Everyone is good at something, so we can all learn from each other by focusing on the individual skill instead of irrelevant stereotyping which contributes towards conflicts.

How do you handle stress and pressure in your current work to maintain your mental health, do the coping mechanisms you developed in the military contribute to your resilience as a civilian?

Yes, it did, pushing my mind and body, is my happy place (Taiyib vs Taiyib). I have learnt that there is always a way. You do it over and over until you get it right.

Can you discuss any leadership experiences you had in the military and how you have applied those leadership skills in your civilian career or personal life?

Managing individuals who are much older than myself and gaining their respect. Due to my Caribbean background, we are very respectful of our elders and are very mindful of what we say and how we say it. However, I gain tremendous confidence in my ability to lead with compassion and communicate clearly what’s on my mind.

I had to learn to be more expressive and communicative. My section commander told me I would never reach my full potential until I learnt to express myself, which is a lesson I have applied in both my personal and professional life.

Do you continue to stay connected to and support other veterans or service members in your community? Have you found ways to give back or assist fellow veterans in their transition to civilian life?

I am still connected to military personnel; we still go out when we can. When I do meet ex forces individuals, I tend to use myself as an example and give out my details if I can help in any way, shape, or form.

What advice would you give to someone leaving the forces and considering a career in Security?

Just be honest in what you want and what you are capable of. 

I think there is an opportunity for ex-forces to work within the wider Carlisle business. They all have the right mindset; we just need to channel their energy in the right direction.

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