Having left HMS Cornwall with fond memories, I joined the former HMS Defiance, SFM (standing for Superintendent Fleet Maintenance). This would be another role as† Departmental Co-ordinator, but the job would prove to be quite different.
In SFM, the manpower is largely made up of aged Warrant Officers, Chiefs and Petty Officers leaving the navy after many years. Whilst there was work to do, time was allowed for resettlement courses and interviews. In short, this enabled me to develop a timeline to plan for my next career.
My job, essentially consisted of managing all joiners and leavers, sending out Joining Letters and managing the departmental hierarchy. It wasnít a particularly challenging job but surrounded by a good management team, with a grown up attitude made me consider, briefly, if I had made the right decision to leave, given the political climate at the time. The long awaited Strategic Defence Review confirmed my decision to leave as many good ships including HMS Cornwall and her sister ships, Cumberland, Chatham and Campbeltown were all to be paid off, thus reducing the Royal Navy, in my opinion, to a Coastal Defence Force.
I attended a Careers Transition Workshop and was assigned a Resettlement Consultant to assist in getting my CV sorted out and suggest possible avenues to exploit my skills.
Never underestimate the power of networking. After chatting to a friend in a pub, he told me that heís been offered a job maintaining fire fighting equipment on commercial ships. The job wasnít right for him, so gave me the contact details of one of the directors.
Following a lengthy telephone discussion, I went for an interview and was finally offered a supervisors job with Ocean Engineering (Fire).† Unfortunately, there were too many variables so with great reluctance, turned it down.
Shortly afterwards, I was contacted by a recruitment company called Matchtech who conducted an informal telephone interview before I was contacted shortly afterwards in August with the offer of an interview with SSMG, standing for Submarine Support Management Group that are based in Keynsham near Bristol.
As it turned out, a former colleague from HMS Turbulent was going to interview me, so whilst being chuffed to bits, it was little surprise that I was finally offered the job of Review of Maintenance engineer.
After the preliminary medical and security checks and after much discussion with the SFM management, I joined SSMG working for Babcock Marine on the 13th December 2010 initially on work placement.
The beauty of the arrangement was that, my two careers overlapped by a little over† 3 months.
I was sorry to leave the Royal Navy on 5th April 2011 after 32 years and 2 months, but I don't think anyone could say, I didnít give it a good try.
Superintendent Fleet Maintenance