Matthew Arnold

Time out with Matthew Arnold, Building Services and Performance Manager for ISG and a reservist of 20 years

We celebrate the ongoing commitment of our armed forces community, sharing their stories and achievements. We caught up with Matthew Arnold, Building Services and Performance Manager, and a reservist of 20 years, holding the role of Staff Sergeant in 65 Works Group, Royal Engineers.

Tell us about your background. What led you to ISG?

My background is in building services engineering and environmental design and management. I’ve been lucky to have broad experience in consulting, client-side governance, management, operations, and group governance for a contractor. ISG provided an opportunity to be part of a new team and service offering delivering something I felt strongly about (low-carbon retrofit) so I jumped on it!

What does your role involve, and what are you currently working on?

My role has evolved, and I am now the Building Services and Performance Manager in our Hyperscale business, currently working on a major project for the Ministry of Justice, as part of ISG's long-standing relationship.

What made you volunteer to become a reservist?

I’ve been a reservist for 20 years; I joined while doing my degree as I was intending to join the regular Army; it was useful as it showed an alternative to being in the forces full time I hadn’t considered. I’m responsible for a cell of half a dozen professionally-qualified engineers. 65 Works Group provides construction and contract management, facilities management, design, clerk of works, options appraisal, surveying, and infrastructure assessment and analysis, much the same as what I do for ISG.

We are also the home of all the engineering specialisms that the regular Army are not able to maintain such as ports and railway engineering, power generation and distribution; my specialism is energy management and environmental design. As well as providing engineering expertise we are also trained soldiers so able to deliver wherever needed, whether that’s over the phone from the UK to someone in Borneo or an individual attachment to a platoon of infantry in Afghanistan.

Matt Arnold

Do you have a highlight you can share?

Last year our annual training exercise was to Gibraltar, we spent the first ten days practicing what we would do operationally by providing engineering services to the Defence Infrastructure Organisation in the form of options appraisals, and construction design and planning up to RIBA stage three. Live jobs are an unusual feature of many national units over their regional counterparts.

The next seven days were spent practicing fighting in buildings and tunnel networks whilst conducting infrastructure reconnaissance and using lidar (light detection and ranging) to survey and map the complex. The final phase involved Royal Navy fast boats delivering us to a disused harbour in the early hours, from here we moved tactically through the city with our equipment (providing a surprise to early commuters), up the cliffs to an entrance to the 34 miles of tunnels under the Rock. 

Were you aware of ISG’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant before you joined the business? How do you plan to use your additional leave this year?

I checked ISG’s policies regarding the armed forces before joining; serving in the Army Reserve is the constant thread in my career and has provided me and my employers massive value. This year my additional leave (for reserve training) is being spent, unusually, in the UK where we will be delivering engineering projects nationally and practicing convoy and ambush drills moving between the sites. 

Would you recommend becoming a reservist to others?

Joining the Reserve is a big commitment, even when you are not attending face-to-face training there is a lot of online administration, occupational health assessments and two annual fitness tests. But if you can afford the commitment, the Reserve provides professional and adventurous training, job security, pay and a pension, networking, experience, and a social life as well as strange opportunities such as abseiling into the middle of an arena to start an ice hockey game! It sounds like a cliché but the people I have worked with for many years are like family and I would recommend it.

Find out more about ISG’s armed forces commitments here or visit this UK Government site for a quick guide to armed forces reserves. 

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