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Case Study

Driver Technician, Matthew Dickman

Matthew Dickman (002).jpg

Driver Technician

I joined the Armed Forces in 1995 at the ripe old age of 24, I joined the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) and my job was going to be a Challenger 1 Tank driver in the regiment of The Royal Dragoon Guards.

I attended 10 weeks of phase one basic training to turn me from a civilian to a soldier. The training was very vigorous and demanding learning new skills and drills which would help me throughout my life and career.  Phase two training prepared me for my role as a Tank Driver in my new regiment. I had to attend an intense course to be able to drive and maintain an Armoured Tank. One of the skills I learned during the early years of my career was to look after your vehicle, your kit then yourself in that order. When you think about it you can’t do your job effectively without a good working vehicle, clean serviceable equipment with a fit healthy person operating his equipment to complete any tasks that arises.

Throughout my years in the army I have undertaken many tours of duty in many countries. The job of a soldier is very demanding and rewarding from time to time but being prepared for all eventualities will help throughout.

The next stage of my career was becoming a driving and maintenance instructor for the RAC posted in Dorset. I really enjoyed this job because I could pass on the experience and knowledge I gained to the new up and coming generation to prepare them for regimental life and their role as a tank driver on tour.

After 22 years I had achieved many things throughout my career. I met many friends that stood by me through thick and thin and I have been to many countries with good and bad memories. In my last 2 years of service I had to prepare myself for a new career in civilian street. Moving from a secure environment that looks after you and pays well is a very daunting thing indeed.

In preparation for leaving the army I started agency driving to gain experience of a few companies that would be happy to take me on full time. This was a comfort but could be a plan B as plan A was delivering fuel.  In the army I had already completed an ADR course to move ammunition, fuel and oils around to support my regiment and other units. This interested me, and I started looking for work in this sector. I undertook some training in Kingsbury for HOYER and this caught my eye, so I started networking for a career in fuel distribution. I sent off my CV and covering letter, that the army help me to compile, to all the main fuel companies but with no luck.  I soon learned that it is very hard to get into this industry. However, I luckily found myself with an interview at Avonmouth for HOYER and the new career / journey began.

Before the interview I did some research to understand what sort of company I was hoping to work for. Looking at the vision and values that HOYER goes by, these were very similar to those of the British Army. I saw this as an advantage, I could relate to them and apply them as I have been doing it most of my army career.

The training side I knew needed to be done to a very high standard due to the job role and this is what I got. Three weeks of training consisting of filling the tanker followed by driving to the delivery point, discharging the product to the customer then driving back to fill up for the next customer. The relaxed way I was taught helped me get my head around everything I needed to know about the job. Continuous assessments for all elements on the job always keeps you on your toes. This is very much like the army and I am happy that HOYER understands the importance of getting the job right.

The last thing my DTI told me apart from good luck and enjoy the job when I finished training was “You’re only as good as your last delivery”.  I have been with the company over a year now and these words are so true. Starting with HOYER and getting to know the job on my own has had its ups and downs. It’s been hard moving from something you have done for 22 years then starting again in a new environment.  I know if at any point I am not happy with anything to do with my role within HOYER all I have to do is ask for advice and the other drivers or management will direct me. Any extra training I need the DTI will help with in any way, so that I am happy to go out and deliver the fuel in a confident and safe manner. It is a comfort knowing this support is available any time. Companies like HOYER are happy to employ ex-service personnel, knowing they have skills to enhance their company, to learn from each other and to drive the team forward to reach higher standards. 

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