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Faces of Architecture: Michael Anderson, Ryder Architecture

After leaving the forces, Michael knew that he wanted to go back into education to broaden his career prospects whilst utilising his military engineering experience. He spent almost 3 years travelling and working overseas before making a decision

Michael grew up in the industrial town of Washington, Tyne and Wear and comes from a working class background. There were limited opportunities after school due to the recession and at the time he wanted to gain practical work experience. He joined the Army at 16 where he began a year of military training learning basic soldiering skills before completing technical trade training and specialising in mechanical engineering, leaving the forces at the rank of Lance Corporal as part of an armoured reconnaissance unit.

In my six year military career, I was tasked on conflict and peace keeping operations across the globe, in addition to a range of adventure training exercises such as skydiving, caving and competing at a high standard of boxing. From a young age, I learnt key transferrable skills such as leading and working effectively as a team, punctuality and operating in high pressure environments, usually in terrible weather!

These transferrable skills have stayed with me throughout my professional career and have played a key part in my transition back into civilian life.

Mount Everest Basecamp

After leaving the forces I knew that I wanted to go back into education to broaden my career prospects whilst utilising my military engineering experience, I spent almost 3 years travelling and working overseas before making a decision. It was during this period that I gained a position at a Sydney based construction company Pacific Plus Construction. I immediately knew that this was the industry I wanted to pursue, allowing me to utilise my previous technical experience in a diverse and collaborative industry into a career that was challenging and encouraged growth. On my return to the UK, I applied for a foundation year in Built Environment Studies at London South Bank University. During this year I was in close contact with Ryder Architecture, completing a work experience placement and pursuing a development role within the company. After a two-stage interview process I was successful in gaining the position and moved back to the North East after almost 10 years away, studying Construction Engineering Management (BSc) part-time at Northumbria University.

I have a real passion for problem solving and collaborative working, this is why the role of Architectural Technologist and technical design appealed to me initially. Since joining Ryder 3 years ago, I have specialized in BIM and data implementation, as the industry is constantly evolving and improving how the design and construction processes are delivered, this is an exciting time to be able to partake in this role. I am currently on secondment with a main contractor gaining extensive experience in BIM management as well as commercial and design management.

Ryder have played a major part in my transition back into civilian life, although in the early stages I certainly struggled with some aspects of such a dramatic career and lifestyle change. Ryder have recently achieved Silver Award status - Armed Forces Covenant, a corporate pledge to support the armed forces community through employment, campaign awareness and skill development which I am proud to have been part of.

Last year myself and my partner were fortunate enough to celebrate the birth of our son, who is full of beans and keeps us busy! In our spare time we like to spend as much time as possible outdoors, making the most of nearby Northumberland, Scotland and the Lake District. I still partake in boxing for Washington Boxing Club and hope to compete again soon, or if not, at least I’m fighting the notorious ‘Dad-Bod’!

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