Steve Rule is Manager of the Carillion Training Centre in Southampton, where 80 young people began their careers in the carpentry and bricklaying trades in 2014. Steve draws on his military background as he continues to build up the Centre.
Health and safety means a lot to Steve Rule. He is after all a man who owes his life to an aircrew lifejacket. It was deployed in 1993 when Steve smashed a smuggler’s speedboat onto some rocks. He was at the time steering it away from a collision course with a water shack containing a family of 12.
He saved the family, helped capture the smugglers – and earned himself a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.
It’s just one of the many stories that this former Naval Weapons Engineer can tell the young apprentices at the Carillion Training Centre he manages, gaining respect and also their trust. This, he says, is important.
“They are not just here to be brickies and chippies, they are learning life skills. We teach them about healthy eating, diversity, and quitting smoking, too.”
Training was a big part of Steve’s 33-year career with the Royal Navy, where he taught new recruits on HMS Sultan and HMS Collingwood, and also worked with the Brunei Armed Forces. He has trained soldiers about conduct after capture and interrogation methods. This has also come in handy: “I understand body language,” he says.
Steve left the Navy on a Friday 15 months ago and started at Carillion the following Monday. Carillion values his experience in creating a team ethos among the 11 staff at the centre, which trains apprentices for the construction industry.
“I’m used to the team working that comes naturally in the Forces, so I focused on engendering a team spirit here.”
He teaches some maths and goes to schools to encourage young people to join the apprenticeship schemes. The skills and NVQ qualifications gained at the Centre are in demand.
Health & Safety is a key part of Steve’s role. He completed his occupational safety (NEBOSH) qualification in a swift four weeks while still getting to grips with his new job. He relishes the challenge and the variety of his job: “In the military you are used to wearing three or four different hats.” And some vital safety gear.