Former Army personnel shares how his love of STEM led him to Nationwide

blog-imagine---richard

Before Nationwide, I was serving in the Army as part of the Royal Artillery group. I worked in the army for 20 years including operations in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq. The Royal Artillery was viewed as a technical arm, with more than average exposure to science and technology.

At the start of my career in the Army, basic gunnery included a study of ballistics; towards the end I was working with aeronautical engineers on long range missile systems. In between I spent some time playing with gravity - jumping out of a serviceable aircraft.

“ I applied for Nationwide as a bit of a blind date. I certainly had no intention of going anywhere near financial services, however a friend suggested Nationwide was different to other banks. ”

With this in mind, I applied and joined the Risk Management Division before moving into Business Transformation for the next 3 ½ years.

I’ve found that although I’m not in a traditional STEM role I still use a lot of the skills I learnt – especially maths. You can’t get away from Maths, the more you can do with numbers, the better your analysis of data.

You’d be surprised how many transferable skills can be drawn across. For example, in my current job there aren't any direct links with Biochemistry, but I once used an RNA/ribosome metaphor to describe my team’s Business Transformation operating model.

To me, work is important but so is having a personal life and making time for friends and family.

I’m fortunate that both of my sons now play rugby and I coach their rugby club. I've previously been a school governor, but have put that on hold at the moment. However, I still plan on remaining engaged with education because it’s probably the most important factor in the future of the country.

I can remember showing early signs of interest in STEM, even as a child; I enjoyed various different subjects such as design and technology. I found that I was always interested in taking things apart – but also fixing them or at least putting them back together.

This love for STEM grew and I spent most of my education studying STEM subjects. I was quite good at Biology and Physics, although A-level Maths was a bit of a stretch. I ended up studying Medical Biochemistry at the University of Birmingham, and since then I have also completed a Post Grad in Education and a Master’s in Business.

My original plan was to study Medicine and go on to become a doctor. However, looking back now; whilst I might have been a good doctor, I'm not sure it was the right direction.

The advice I’d give to anyone is –do to what you’re good at. I believe that enjoying and being good at something is its own wage and being an expert pays in the long run.

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Comments

  • Bill

    Great to hear that you are charting such an effective course at Nationwide and providing an effective advocate for the transferability of skills that you have learned during your military service.

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