Name: Liam Connor.
Job Title: Head of Field Engineering. Time with G.Network: 2.5 years.
From the forces to fibre - an interview with Head of Field Engineering, Liam Connor.
Discover Liam’s journey from the military to Head of Field Engineering at G.Network - and why new military leavers are on his team’s radar.
What was your career before joining G.Network?
The Army was my first ever job, so in my early career, it was all I knew.
I served 7 successful years in the British Army with the bomb disposal regiment in the Royal Engineers. When I left, I found myself thrown into a world that was totally different from the forces.
That was tough. In the military, your life is handled for you - you’re told everything, from when to eat and sleep to when your dentist's appointment is.
“Now, thrown into civvy street, I had to adjust to a new life - on top of finding a job.”
I found the adjustment to the civilian world such a shock to the system that I actually tried to get back into the military - but wasn’t successful.
It was at this point that I decided my Army days were finally over, and I started looking at my options.
For as long as I can remember, I’d always looked up to my big brother. I followed him into the Army, worked in the same regiment as him, and so naturally when he left and threw himself into a career in telecoms, I was eager to follow in his footsteps.
So, when the military gave me a resettlement package that’d completely cover the training costs, it was an easy choice.
Once I’d completed my training, I picked up a field technician job with a telecommunications company in the North.
I put my nose to the grindstone and worked my way up to supervisor, but after 7 years I’d hit a ceiling and realised things weren’t going to go much further.
“It was time for my next challenge - and that’s when I found G.Network.”
I spoke with a couple of the founders of G.Network who told me about the vision of the company and the plans they had in store, and it really excited me.
With G.Network being a startup I knew it was a great opportunity, so I went for it. It’s been 2 and a half years since, and I haven’t looked back.
And what’s your current role like?
As Head of Field Engineering, a big part of what I do is help train and cultivate our current team. I’m here to make sure everyone has the support they need to achieve level-best in their fields.
I’ve always been passionate about helping people discover the best in themselves, and seeing groups of our Fibre Specialists pull together to bring a 100% full-fibre network to London is inspiring. It reminds me why I loved the military.
What difference do your Fibre Specialists make? Why is their role important?
My team on the ground does more than just deliver ultra-fast internet - they’re the face of G.Network’s brand, interacting with our customers on a daily basis.
“As Fibre Specialists, we leave lasting impressions on our customers”
Whenever we have new starters anywhere in the company - from sales to marketing and finance - I recommend they come and spend a day with us to see what we do.
We act as the front line of G.Network’s service offering, and we’re the last point of contact delivering the product that’s been marketed and sold to our customers. Our role is to provide the broadband solution they’re looking for with a service that puts a smile on their faces.
A Fibre Specialist’s typical day - what does that look like?
After you’ve completed training through our Fibre Academy, you’ll become part of a 2-person team working across London.
Your day-to-day totally depends on which team you’re part of, because the roles can vary pretty wildly.
If you’re part of the backbone team...
...you’ll be responsible for installing our core fibre network infrastructure. You’ll spend your day working outdoors, moving from location to location across London to install our fibre network.
Your main role will be to connect together fibre optic cables. Fibre cables are smaller than a strand of hair, so you’ll need to be good at following instructions and have an eye for detail.
If you’re a surveyor…
...you’ll be en-route to client sites to meet the customer and plan the installation of fibre to the premises, whether that’s someone’s home or a local business.
You’ll plan how to connect the newly-laid network infrastructure in the streets through to the router in the customer premises. You’ll need to decide the best way to connect the customer, draw up detailed plans and advise on what equipment will be needed to complete the installation.
And if you’re in installation…
...you’ll be part of the team responsible for bringing the fibre cables from the street into people’s homes and businesses, giving our customers access to 100% fibre broadband. You’ll need to interpret the fibre connection plans drawn up by our surveyors so you can confidently install fibre broadband in people’s homes and businesses.
Why is fibre a great career for military leavers?
Both myself and our CTO, Shawn Nolan, found leaving the military a tough transition, so we’re passionate about helping the next generation find their footing and develop an exciting, rewarding career that they know they can take pride in.
The speed at which the fibre industry is growing is incredible, so if you’re looking to carve out a new career, there’s no better time to join.
And what kind of experience do you look for?
A background in telecoms is great, but it’s far from essential. In fact, if you’re ex-military, you’ve got a lot of transferable skills that we’re looking for.
You’ll be used to working in teams and engaging with people, you’ll be a fast learner, and you won’t be afraid to get stuck in - all the traits you learn in the forces and traits we value highly.
What can military leavers expect from a career at G.Network?
G.Network is on a seriously fast growth trajectory, but we don’t just invest in our business - we invest in our people too.
If you’re a new military leaver looking for a new career with strong potential for progression, G.Network is a company that can offer it to you.
And what does the career progression look like?
When you join us, they'll be a clear path ahead of you. From Fibre Specialist you can become Principal Engineer, then Supervisor, then Manager, and so on.
“You’ll never be stuck in your role, either.”
If you’re interested in other areas of the business and the need exists, there’s always that opportunity to shift departments and make your mark there too.
And as we grow, we’ll be introducing even more roles. If you’ve got what it takes, the sky’s the limit.
Why G.Network? What makes it such a great place to work?
For me, I was sold on the vision, and G.Network has delivered well and above what was initially offered to me.
For anyone coming in, we won’t just invest in your skills and offer that clear progression path. You’ll have the chance to make your mark on a completely new network that’ll change the way London communicates. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity.
On top of that, there’s a good dose of camaraderie, too. Each supervisor looks after 10 Fibre Specialists, so it’s like having your own troop. There’s always healthy competition between teams too, which definitely keeps things interesting.
What pathways are there into a career in fibre for military leavers?
If you’ve got the right attitude and that eagerness to learn, our Fibre Academy is ready and waiting. You can become a G.Network Fibre Specialist with no prior experience as part of our Reskillship programme, and we’ll provide you with the training and support you need to succeed.
Alternatively, you can use your resettlement package to cover the cost of your fibre training. Ex-military applicants who have completed their CNCI Fibre and COPT courses with CNet training are guaranteed an interview at G.Network.
You can use your Enhanced Learning Credits to complete your training. Once you have completed the courses and have your certificates, you can apply under our guaranteed interview scheme.
Finally, what advice would you give to a military leaver looking to start a career in your field?
First and foremost - be open-minded about the opportunities that you come across. Joining G.Network was the right choice for me and I haven’t looked back.
Finding success in civilian life is all about discovering your core skills and developing them. G.Network is a great place to do it.