From Royal Navy Engineer to Energy Sector Risk Manager

Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 by Faye CoppNo comments

Mick Grimshaw enjoyed a successful 22-year career in a multi-discipline engineering role in the Royal Navy Submarine Service. His military transition into the energy sector was seamless, thanks to his unique transferable skills and experience. Here Mick offers an insight into his consulting role and offers his expert advice on why ex-military personnel have what it takes to succeed in project management and consultancy roles.


Mick left the Royal Navy in 2008 and to begin with, he was unsure where his second career would take him, with a list of possible job opportunities from Property Developer, to starting his own business to Forestry Worker. He explained: “Without being unfair on the resettlement teams at the time, my experience was that there was very little in the way of ‘bespoke guidance’ or the on-to-one engagement that would help Service Leavers match their military skills to the equivalent civilian roles. An analogy would be a bit like trying to make a best guess at which shape peg I was to match up with the ‘holes’ available.” 


mick grimshaw

Mick soon found his feet and secured an interview at Shell for a Project Marine Engineering role where his ability to self-start and fit into a team environment quickly was just one of a number of reasons he landed the job. He said the role was a ‘natural fit’: “Whether I identified it or not, I had actually been in a project engineering role my entire career performing very similar activities - it was an almost seamless transition.” Mick had a highly successful career within Shell for 11 years where he developed a keen interest in the energy sector, leading to new roles and his current position as a Risk and Management Consultant  at Prism Energy. 

But what military skills helped get him there? “I believe working in an engineering team in a military environment requires the same skillset as a counterpart role in the energy industry. You need to be adaptable, have an aptitude for problem solving, strong communication skills and be open to new and different ideas. A strong team will consist of individuals with different strengths/weaknesses and/or a different approach to reaching conclusions. It is important to be able to recognise the character differences and to understand how to lever these as opportunities.” As a Risk and Management Consultant, he uses skills he honed in the military everyday: “Time management and having the ability to work unsupervised is key to becoming a successful consultant, this is especially important in a micro-company where everyone has a part to play and multi-tasking is very common.”


Mick is a firm believer that ex-military personnel are a perfect fit for project management and consultancy roles. But why? “Amongst the many skills that ex-military personnel bring to these roles, the key ones are having a no-nonsense approach to making decisions. We are quick to provide an accurate assessment of a situation and come to a conclusion. Decisive decision making can be valuable in a commercial environment like consulting. I also think that our experience moving between posts gives us the ability to ‘fit in’ in an organisation and become a valuable leader or team member very quickly. There are plenty of other softer qualities too.” 

And finally Mick offers his TOP 5 TRANSITION TIPS:

  1. The earlier you start preparing for the next stage of your career the better, it’s a big decision and an important step. 

  2. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare…Do the groundwork and research, frame the available options and the experience, skills and qualifications required then use the valuable resettlement available to you to good use.

  3. Obtain the right qualifications, join professional memberships and industry bodies.

  4. Consider a mentoring program, this can provide insight in role types/opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be visible to you. 

  5. Join a professional network like LinkedIn and build a strong profile with a wide network of like-minded individuals/peers and don’t be afraid of requesting connections with senior people in target industry/organisations – develop a bank of questions and ask them.  Overall, if the approach is genuine and purposeful, I have found that people are happy to help, and support where and when they can. 

Read our transition guides for further expert guidance and if you are looking for engineering and management jobs, look no further - click here for 100’s of opportunities!

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