Grant White is a driver with Race2Recovery, the first and only motor sport team with combat injured members to twice enter and complete the Dakar Rally. He is a Regional Security Director for a major company covering Asia and is an unpaid volunteer with R2R.
What’s your Military background?
I Served as a Royal Marine and I left back in 2008.
How did you find resettlement?
The biggest challenge for anyone (during resettlement) is to ascertain what you want to do. I took the long way. I saw too many people getting ‘ground rush’ before they left. I had a two year plan whereby I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do and I started to look at getting educated. I did a master’s degree before I left.
That helped me get into the mindset of doing something different. I had a long term approach and I gave myself the aim of getting (job) security by working for a large business.
I think the biggest challenge for most people, whether they admit it or not, is a level of insecurity – and it’s completely unfounded. People think, ‘How will my skill sets transfer to the commercial world?’ The thing is, our skill sets are completely transferable and not only that, they are in demand. We just need to know how to market them.
The most challenging question is the one about the lack of commercial expertise and experience. The best answer I’ve heard people give is to say, ‘Yes, I think you’re right,right, I don’t have that level of commercial acumen but I can learn those skills. I can bring you a lifetime’s worth of achievement – which you can’t learn’.
What is Race2Recovery and how did you get involved?
R2R was the brain child of veterans injured in Afghanistan. They wanted to get injured Servicemen together to do something challenging – and that challenge was to enter the Dakar Rally. That was very successful. They proceeded to get a disabled person across the line at the Dakar two years in a row.
I got involved because I’m an amputee myself so I went along with aspirations to do the Dakar and I spent the last two years in the team before
I ended up taking over as team manager. What we’re really doing now is supporting disabled people, veterans mainly, and enabling them to get into motor sport.
Moving forward we want to use it as a platform for mentoring and giving people skills. Going back to my point about commercial experience, joining our team will give them experience and help them to learn other skills transferable to the current job market.
Are you looking for new team members?
We are. We’re hoping to run two race cars next year in a British event and for each of those cars we’re looking to put a team together. All of those people will take an active role in the support of the car.
What do you miss from your time with the Services?
The thing about the Military was that everyone was focused and everyone saw the big picture. It’s not necessarily the same in the commercial world. Everyone’s got their own path and is doing their own thing in order to make their career work. I look back with pride and a lot of happiness regarding my Military career but I don’t think it’s particularly healthy to hark back to what you did. I think it’s just ‘different’.
There are lots of benefits to being in the civilian world.
What’s the best thing about being back on Civvy Street?
You just have to look at civvy street as a new challenge. Anybody who has done well in their Military career will have transferable skills. Everyone I worked alongside as a professional soldier has gone on to do really well outside.
The best piece of advice ‘I never got’ was that you should be preparing for civvy street the day after you sign up. Start writing your CV. You’ll write it 50 times before you leave and you’ll hone it and hone it. It’s all about how to merge your skillset to fit in with the civilian language and identifying how your skills are transferable.