Dale Capstick: “Everything changed when I left the Armed Forces”

1 year ago

Dale Capstick is a site manager within our Construction North & Scotland business. Dale previously served with the Royal Marines but was discharged on medical grounds and here, Dale explains how leaving the Forces felt like he was going from 100mph to 30mph but thanks to the transferable skills he possessed he was able to choose a new career in construction – and thrive.

“I grew up in the Yorkshire Dales and as much I enjoyed school, I never really got the support and time that I needed to excel in the main subjects like maths, science and English.  Although I liked them, I found I was better suited to art and design technology.  I was told I was likely dyslexic but never officially diagnosed and despite trying my best I left school with poor GCSE grades.

At the age of 13, I got my first job as a pot washer in a local pub a mile down the road and I later became a waiter at the same pub.  After leaving school at 16 I started working as labourer on a building site where the building process fascinated me. I attended college and qualified as a plasterer and four years later I retrained as a plumber.

I enjoyed this but I wanted a new challenge. A few of my friends spoke about joining the Army and I looked into joining and applied for the elite Royal Marine Commandos and after an arduous 32-week training course I passed out for duty and I joined 40 Commandos in Taunton. 

Soon after this I was deployed to Afghanistan and after serving only six years, I was sadly medically discharged.

This was truly the most daunting and stressful time for me as I didn’t have any formal qualifications or any idea on what I would do next and I feared I would have to start my career over again.

Over the coming months, I attended job fairs and networking events and this in turn got me an interview for an ex-forces placement scheme with Transport for London. I was successful and worked as a project support officer for seven months.  Doing this role, I really felt my calling was to be a site manager and I decided to contact the Royal Marines Charity and they put me in touch with Kier.

After various phone calls and interviews, I was offered the position of assistant site manager.  After a couple of months, I was asked what my aspirations were and I said I would love to further my education and development. To my disbelief, I was offered a position on the Kier degree programme to undertake a Bsc Construction and Commercial Management course.

I never thought I would ever get the opportunity to go to university or even be capable of it. No one in my family was ever academic and none of them had a degree – it was great to feel like someone had belief in my ability and this really made me focus and to draw on the skills and determination I’d learnt in the Armed Forces to succeed.

Four and a half years later, I’ve done it, I’ve completed my degree gaining first class honours.

I could never have imagined the path my life would take or even the opportunities I would be given. I can’t thank Kier enough for the support and opportunities they have provided me during this critical time of transitioning back into civvy street.

I want to say to anyone who’s left the Armed Forces, don’t be afraid to ask for support, think about what you’d like to do and know you possess so many transferable skills that work in other industries and go show them what you are made of!”

Find out more about a career in construction, here

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