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Armed Forces Day: Honouring Our Veteran Colleagues 

OCS Team

OCS Team

01 Jul, 2024

Armed Forces Day: Honouring Our Veteran Colleagues 

Armed Forces Day was on Saturday, the 29th and to usher the day in, last week, we spoke to our Group CEO, Rob Legge,  about the importance of being a forces-friendly employer. It’s crucial that we play our part in helping to support our troops as they reenter civilian life after their time in service, along with providing necessary aid for their families and loved ones. 

In honour of this effort, we are highlighting two of our colleagues who have served. We are sharing their unique stories, detailing their journey from the force to being part of our global effort to make people and places the best they can be here at OCS.  

Meet Bir Bahadur-Rai and Carl Gage. 

Bir Bahadur-Rai: From Military Service to Security Supervisor

Two pictures of Bir Bahadur-Rai: on the left a picture of him in his Military uniform, on the right as a Security Supervisor for OCS

Bir Bahadur Rai is a former British Army Gurkha who spent 15 years in the military after joining in 1979 at the age of 20 in Hong Kong. His active service included a deployment to the Falkland Islands in 1986 to clear mines and booby traps, four years after the war with Argentina. 

After retiring from the Gurkhas in 1994, Bir returned to Hong Kong and worked as a security officer for the Jardin Company. He later moved to the US Embassy in Dubai and worked in security before settling in the UK in 2016. His journey also involved working on cruise ships, serving at the American Embassy in Afghanistan, and being part of the Gurkha Reserve Unit in Brunei. 

Bir’s transition to a security supervisor role at Greenham Business Park was facilitated by the Forces Employment Charity (FEC), which connected him with site manager Brendon Ferreira. 

“I’m really enjoying working within OCS. It’s not easy to find work at my age and I feel lucky to have this and to have found OCS. This place is unique,” says Bir.  

“Everything is organised. My duties are planned for almost a year ahead which empowers me to plan and hone my skills accordingly. I have learned many new things at this site and with OCS. The role has also helped me with my personal life, solving many problems and giving me the security I was initially looking for.” he adds.

Carl Gage: From Naval Chef to Facilities Management

Two Images of Carl Gage: On the left as a Naval Chef, on the right working in Facilities Management

Carl Gage is a former member of the Royal Navy. He embarked on his military journey at 17, inspired by his great-uncle’s stories and his passion for home economics. He trained at HMS Raleigh in Plymouth and served on his first ship, HMS Liverpool, a Type 42 Destroyer. His service included peacekeeping missions and the evacuation of expats from Lebanon to Cyprus during a conflict with Syria. 

He fondly recalls his time in the service, from the initial shock of having his hair shaved off to the rewarding experiences he gained. He was not only a chef but also a firefighter and part of the damage control and disaster recovery teams. He rose through the ranks, becoming one of the youngest leading hands at 21 and a local acting Petty Officer by 25. 

After nearly a decade in the service, he decided to start a new career. With the help of the Royal Navy’s resettlement program, he transitioned into the FM industry. He began as a QHSE Auditor at an FM company, auditing hard services for customers. His military skills, particularly in communication and leadership, proved invaluable in his new role. 

He is now a regional director at OCS, responsible for six key customers and managing a P&L of approximately £30m yearly. He appreciates the similarities between the military and FM, particularly the variety each day brings. He is also involved in OCS’s efforts to honour the Armed Forces Covenant and support the military community. 

Reflecting on his journey, he credits his success to the drive and determination instilled in him by the military. He encourages anyone leaving the forces to explore opportunities in FM, highlighting the many transferable skills ex-military personnel can offer potential employers. His story is a testament to the rewarding experiences and valuable skills that a military career can provide, and how these can be successfully applied to a civilian career. 

“I have been extremely fortunate in both my careers in the Royal Navy & the FM Industry and would probably say some of it has been right place right time, but nothing has been achieved without drive and determination and that is something the military has instilled in me. The FM industry is certainly rewarding if you are willing to put the effort in.” 

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