Peter Carmen, Project Controls Manager in our Defence division, joined UGL as a graduate in 2020. Since then, his career progressed personally and professionally during his time whilst in the Veteran Mentor program as part of our UGL Veterans network.
What is your background in Defence?
“I joined the army at 19 as a rifleman, I spent 7 years in an Infantry Battalion and have been a member of the Reserves since transitioning in 2013. I have worked in Army simulation/mentoring postings and training establishments during my time with the Reserves.”
What led you to participate in the Veteran Mentor program?
“I was looking for a way to reach out and see what else was available within UGL to get a wider breadth of experience. In the program I was teamed up with Ian Mckenzie, Senior Business Development Manager in Defence. He was invaluable. I was able to talk about how to develop my career in the wider business and see the diversity available in UGL. The program gave me the opportunity to understand and connect with people outside of my area of work.”
What guidance did your mentor provide that helped you achieve your personal or professional goals?
“I joined UGL as graduate engineer and when COVID hit, I found I wanted to continue to study. I spoke to Ian about my career and direction and how it would apply to my studies. He arranged for me to talk to Terry Nichols, my current General Manager, which ultimately resulted in my current role within Defence. Being supported via Ian’s connections helped give me exposure and confidence, and his connections and experience gave me a wider breadth of opportunities. Within the Australian Defence Force, my career was more ‘on-rails’ and there was more certainty in the next step to take, moving to private industry can be daunting to not have a clear direction. The Veteran Mentoring Program allowed me to seek guidance and advice beyond was already available in the reporting structure.”
What do you think made your mentor and mentee relationship successful?
“Openness, a willing to communicate, and trust also plays a major role. I think it is a very personable thing to want to commit to a mentoring program, it speaks a lot of a mentor wanting to give and teach, and the mentee’s willingness to learn and grow. As a mentor you want to use your experience, use your networks, your visions, to help the other person succeed. I believe our relationship was successful because of the personalities of both of us and our commitment to the program.”
What skills did you gain through the program?
“I developed my ability to communicate on different levels and to seek information in different areas of the business when required. Just knowing that you are in a company with someone to talk to that has a similar mindset. The program allowed me to feel supported and understood and it was a great vehicle for being able to communicate to understand the Defence mindset and thought process. That might not be as easy to communicate in a civilian relationship. I owe the opportunity I have now to the mentoring program, and I am really enjoying it as it enables me to work hard, develop my skills and grow professionally.
“The UGL Veteran Mentor program is an excellent initiative, it’s a great way to attract veterans into the business. Having a support structure like this program is amazing for transitioning veterans, especially when we move into divergent civilian or non-military roles.”