Supporting our Veterans: Liam Derham

Published: Mar 15 2019

Army veteran Liam is now an accomplished Logistics Manager with PHD Modular Access. He has experience of storage, distribution and supply chain management which he has gained from over 10 years logistics service worldwide.

Liam joined PHD in 2016 and is responsible for managing two-yard managers, their yards, supervisors and two labour teams. Here he chats about his resettlement journey.

Tell us a little about what you did in the military.

“I served 11 years with the Royal Logistic Corps. I started as a Driver and went onto become an all arms stores accountant and then onto a training instructor. I learnt valuable skills and gained significant qualifications from NVQ’s to BTECs and Diplomas. All of which were transport and logistics related. My experience helped me gain great postings and operations as a JNCO, where I was assigned job roles that involved the issue and distribution of highly sensitive stores equipment and ammunition and explosives in Germany, Afghanistan, Jordan, Czech Republic and the UK.

“I learnt to become an effective Logistics Manager specialising in Transport and Distribution.”

What was your favourite thing about being in the Army?

“My favourite thing about the military was when I was entrusted to command my own teams. Leading convoys and stores movements on exercises. You felt a sense of pride when achieving a goal you and your team planned together. All the while enjoying the laughs along the way.”

So why did you decide to leave and what did you do next?

“I left due to a re-occurring injury that was holding me back from progressing. I also decided it was time to be closer to my partner and children who I rarely got to see. I gained enough experience and qualifications to move onto a new career in Civvy Street and felt it was the right time.

“I signed up with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) to help me through my resettlement. I attended their three-day Career Transition Workshop, which taught me how to rewrite my CV and how to market myself to future employers. The part I felt was most valuable was the CV writing and interview techniques. Without that I’m not sure I would have found a job as easy as I did.

“I also used my Enhanced Learning Credits (ELCs) to start a Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Level 5 Diploma in Transport Management.

“Luckily, I knew I wanted to continue my career in Logistics and Transport Management, so focused my energy in looking into roles that were in this sector. The first job I got out of the Army was in recruitment as a Transport Consultant. I would employ drivers to carry out agency work for big transport and distribution companies, such as Royal Mail, FedEx, Ocado and many others.”

What were you most worried about when you left the military?

“Honestly, not being able to fall into a managerial position, which I had been doing for so long. I was worried that civilian employers wouldn’t truly notice the skills and potential ex-forces personnel have and that I would end up in a job role that didn’t suit me or that I would not like. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case, but the initial transition can be quite scary because you feel like you’re stepping into the unknown.”


“As a Logistics Manager, I am responsible for the management of Transport and Distribution. My job is packed with a variety of different tasks all of which are specific to the construction industry. Along with the company’s yard managers I schedule the deliveries and collection of scaffolding equipment in and out of major construction sites both in the UK and internationally. I am responsible for the company fleet and the HGV Drivers’ careers. I have been entrusted to champion the Fleet Operators Recognition Scheme for PHD, which sees me maintaining important policies and procedures and carrying the company through annual audits.

“One of the best days I had was when we passed my first Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) Silver audit. I had never worked with FORS before and had to learn the ropes very quickly. After a few months of head in books and frantically trying to get all of our drivers to meet certain criteria, I was finally audited and passed. The feedback was that PHD’s record keeping, standards and documents were some of the best the auditors had ever seen. So, because of the work I and all the drivers done, there was a great sense of achievement and pride. We could hold our heads high.”

What do you like most about working for PHD?

“Professionally – The trust. You are given a task or job and you are left to get on with it. There is no micro management, and everyone has a realistic expectation of what can and can’t be achieved.

Socially – PHD encourage team building. If I wanted to round up the logistics staff for a social activity followed by a meal and a drink, I would simply run it by the directors and they are always on board with the idea. Only recently I planned a day out Go-Karting and PHD funded the entire day.”

How does PHD support you in your career?

“So far PHD have placed me onto career courses that benefit both my own profile and the company. There are opportunities for everyone to progress, you just need to prove yourself and want to give back to the company. There is no room for selfishness. PHD strive on the team ethic, if you show you’re eager and willing then you will be given opportunities.”

Do you have any advice for people who are leaving the military right now?

“It’s not as scary as you think. You just need to learn to channel your skillset into the civilian world, conduct yourself in a professional manner but remember you can still have a laugh.

“The military banter will need turning down and thinking for yourself is expected. New ideas are always welcome but don’t be afraid of rejection. You may need to interview a lot before being offered a job, that’s because there is more competition out here.

“Learn to build a good CV, nail the interview techniques and always be honest.”

Signing up with the Career Transition Partnership

We’re looking to recruit from the military talent pool. If you are one of the 14,000 people who leave the military every year or a reservist, PHD Modular Access Services can help you make the most of your skills and experience.

We understand the benefits and value military leavers can bring to our team, so we have made a promise to help more people find rewarding work with us. We know that veterans and reservists are highly-skilled, committed and capable employees, who have a wide range of transferable skills to the construction and scaffolding sector.

Visit the Career Transition Partnership’s website.