On The Road with Morson FORCES
Armed with a brand-new van, an ex-forces veteran and a team of highly experienced recruiters, the Morson Forces recruitment roadshow travels to dozens of destinations across the UK every year.
From being a staple at the larger recruitment fairs like the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) to hosting their own events close to key armed forces facilities, the team behind Morson Forces have one goal in mind – help service leavers settle to life outside the armed forces comfortably, and simply.
Morson Group is the UK’s leading technical recruiter, engineering design and project management company, with a global presence across markets including rail, aerospace, defence, energy, construction, infrastructure, IT, professional services and oil and gas. In 2018, the Group added to its family with the acquisition of Anderselite, a specialist for over 30 years in providing recruitment services to the construction, civil engineering, facilities management and rail sectors. It’s from here that Morson Forces, the Group’s dedicated ex-forces recruitment arm, gained its newest roadshow recruit, James Lacey.
After a recent CTP event in Morson Forces’ home turf of Salford, James spoke about his first experiences in ex-forces recruitment:
“We had a lot of activity that day, at one point we were the busiest stand by far! We we’re thrilled a the turn out as we tend to find that events around Catterick and Aldershot are the most popular, being very army-focused areas.”
Keen to expand his knowledge beyond construction, James has been working closely with fellow Morson Forces recruiters.
“Different events are good for me because I can spend time getting knowledge outside of construction. The rest of the Morson Forces team, Steve Barrett, Steve Bowden and Pat McMullan, concentrate on aerospace, defence and marine. When I first started, I didn’t know anything about fast jets or aircraft technicians but I’m learning and it’s incredibly advantageous to be able to speak with and understand our ex-forces candidates’ experiences and future ambitions.”
Last year, James met service leaver Brett Parker. Brett’s career in the army began in 2005 and saw him training as a combat engineer, complete two tours of Afghanistan and transfer to the Royal Army Physical Training Corps as an Exercise Rehabilitation Instructor. He recalls: “After chatting with James for a few minutes, I knew I could potentially work with this guy. He took down my details and from then on, I was in regular contact… and I’m talking every few days not every few weeks! He soon informed me he’d secured an interview with a firm over in the North West. On the day of the interview, he bought me breakfast and posed some practise questions. They put me on the back foot if I’m honest but it’s exactly what I needed. Having spent time in the army since I was 16 and never having a civilian interview, James helped guide me on how to approach the interview and what questions I should ask.
Brett speaks highly of the service he was given. “I would highly recommend the Morson Group and Anderselite. Not only did James help with a much smoother pathway getting the right interviews, but his proactive approach was spot on.”
Morson Forces are often joined by Andy Reid MBE, who has rapidly become a spokesperson and ambassador for the veteran world. In 2009, Andy lost both of his legs and his right arm after stepping on an IED plate in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. After years of agonising recovery and adjusting to life outside the army, Andy works closely with Morson Forces to assist other service leavers with their transition.
James comments “Andy gets on really well with everyone he speaks to, and he’s known and respected in the ex-forces world. He also knows what I’m looking for. Guys coming out with qualifications in construction, project management, civil engineering, infrastructure, those are the people he points in my direction. It’s a great, productive relationship.”
There’s plenty more touring to come from the Morson Forces roadshow, with James continuing to support the Morson function. “Looking at the diary, it’s going to be a busy couple of months with more events in places like Newbury and Catterick. I want to be able to get to as many as I can this year. I’m looking forward to getting myself known among the recurring attendees and build those relationships. Hopefully we can get a role for them before they leave the military.”
When asked for any advice about what service leavers should be considering as they attend roadshows across the country, James said, “A lot of the veterans I’ve spoken to think that if they don’t have qualifications which would benefit a sector or because they don’t have sector experience but do have qualifications, they have nowhere to go. I recently placed a service leaver who had done his NVQ in construction and a couple in groundworks and pipe-laying while he was still serving. It was just a case of finding the right fit.
“When I speak to veterans, I try to get across that it’s not about sectors – the fact you have qualifications, transferrable skills and a career in the forces behind you, is far more important.”
James appreciates that the transition must be daunting. “When people come to the events for the first time, they can be a bit shy. My advice is don’t be afraid of speaking to people or thinking that lack of experience will hold you back. You’ve already had a career that’s very regimented, dependent on communication skills and have experience being part of a well-drilled team. These are skills that you can help you in any workplace.”
Taking the Stress Out of Security Cleared Careers Abroad
Outside of recruiting within the UK, Morson Forces also provide services abroad, many of which require security clearance at various levels.
Morson Forces have worked with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) since 1999. Originally awarded the Technical Works Supervisor (TWS) Contract, this expanded to include both blue and white collar requirements, such as clerk of works services, project managers and professional services roles. We supply these roles to British Embassies and High Commissions worldwide, often within conflict areas.
Many of these roles require SC and DV clearance, making them ideal potential career choices for a wealth of forces veterans who might already have the required clearance, making them an ideal fit for an easy transition.
Headed up by FCO Account Manager Carl Pollitt, Morson identify and interview candidates in conjunction with an FCO representative. If successful at interview stage (but don’t currently have the required security clearance) the candidate is submitted for SC/DV clearance with the aim of establishing a ‘pool’ of skilled, security cleared candidates to fill TWS positions as they become available.
“Each area of operation has specific requirements on skills, knowledge and experience. Morson are an integral part of the posting process, with our vast knowledge of both the estate and the individuals”, said Carl.
With the assistance of the FCO Travel Centre and post, Morson manage the passport and visa application process for all newly appointed TWS. This guidance is also required when TWS move locations, or additional locations are added to their outstation travel remit.
They also facilitate the confirmation of flights, transfers and accommodation arrangements, as well as overseeing the entire TWS deployment process ensuring all new candidates are in communication with the correct people at post before their arrival. This reduces the knowledge transfer time for new TWS.
“Our holistic solution takes the stress out of working within a security cleared environment abroad. Alongside our process management, we offer a 24-hour emergency helpline and in-country partner support.”
To find out more,
contact Carl Pollitt at