Leidos celebrates colleagues and community on UK Armed Forces Day
On Armed Forces Day, we want to pay tribute to those currently serving in the military, as well as those who have made the transition to civilian life.
Adapting to life outside of the military requires an environment which is both understanding and supportive – it's why we take so much care in ensuring our veterans are supported when they enter the Leidos family. And we are proud to be supporting former service people to work right across the business, bringing their valuable skills to the organisation.
Eddie Hutton-Fellowes, head of logistics at Leidos UK, believes the skills she developed while serving in the Royal Logistics Corps for 22 years supported her ability to thrive in a new career at Leidos in 2016.
“Being able to galvanise a team to work towards a common objective, often with resource constraints, has been essential,” she said, and working with a diverse range of team members with different sets of skills has made her more capable of growing into new environments. Her sense of duty to the military hasn’t dwindled though – instead, it acts as an enduring motivation. “Ensuring that our service personnel receive the support that they need sits at the core of my day.”
Others believe that there’s a common misconception that when you leave the military, you lose a sense of camaraderie and a lighter, more social side to your working day. Project manager Stewart Bremner believes his role in our Glasgow, Scotland office is something that made his transition that little bit easier. “The Glasgow office has always had a vibrant and active social life along with a positive inclusive culture, which made it easy for me to fit in and enjoy the same benefits but without the time away from home,” he said.
Replicating the familial feel of the military has remained an important part of Stewart’s career since joining civilian life. “The most rewarding part of part of working at Leidos has been the strong core of people who are supportive, committed, and professional,” he said. He believes that while immersing yourself in somewhere new can be daunting, Leidos has been able to foster the same sort of fraternity that draws so many people into the military.
Sadly, while some make the transition quickly and smoothly, some find the change more difficult. “People assume that veterans leave on Friday and walk into a job on Monday, and like many, that was not the case for me,” said Alex Yates, associate director, programme management in the Logistics Commodities and Services Transformation programme. “I had a period of several months where I ranged between not having a job to working in call centres so I could get some income.” Alex’s story is shared by many veterans, whose retreat from such a tight-knit environment can leave them feeling isolated or lacking confidence.Alex serves as a shining example to all military personnel transitioning to civilian lives and he was even a finalist in the Service Leaver of the Year Awards in 2020.
, Associate Director, Programme Management
I am very grateful for the opportunity Leidos gives me to serve our military customer every day in a leadership position. I feel strongly that as leaders in the company we have to earn the right every day to serve our teams and our customers.
While it might not be what most people expect, there’s a common thread that runs throughout our colleagues’ testimonies of adapting to life outside the military. “There are many challenges to being ex-military in the civilian environment, not least that we speak different languages!” observed Nick Bloomfield, a business development manager, as he touched on a feeling echoed by Eddie. “One of the biggest challenges was trying to override the liberal use of military three-letter abbreviations; there have been plenty of commercial terms to replace them with!”
There’s a sense that while the military feels like a home away from home for many colleagues, there’s also a recognition that it’s an atypical world, and learning to work outside of it is important. Mick Whiteley, UK training manager, spent 22 years in the Royal Air Force (RAF). When he left, he trained as a college lecturer, but weeks after qualifying realised it wasn’t for him. On reflection, Mick felt “it was too big a step from the world of RAF Training. It was a massive learning experience and it inducted me well into the tough world outside of the military.”
Embarking on a career outside the military can be a daunting prospect. This Armed Forces Day, we urge all Leidos employees to recognise the challenges facing former service people, celebrate role models, and make where you work as welcoming and supportive as possible.