James Kenealey ex-forces
Morson is proud to be spearheading a charity bike ride to raise money for the White Ensign Association.
In September 2020, a dedicated team of cyclists with a small support crew will be riding from RNAS Yeovilton to RNAS Culdrose and back – a round trip of over 360 miles over demanding and hilly terrain.
Matthew Sellick, former Royal Navy Sailor and Morson recruiter originally conceived of the idea, and the team scheduled to set off on 4 September comprises him, Morson’s Tony Beaumont and five other representatives from the Royal Navy and Leonardo Helicopters.
Matt spoke to Morson about his career journey, the inspiration behind the ride, his training plans and his relationship with the White Ensign Association.
Matt joined the Royal Navy when he was just 16 years old.
“I was really into computers and they were having a big push recruiting for working on weapons and radars. As a young lad in 1997 when computer technology was still in its relative infancy, it was exciting enough to make me go to the Exeter careers office and sign up.”
Matt would spend his next five years serving on HMS Liverpool and HMS Cardiff, with deployments to the Mediterranean, the west coast of Africa and the Middle East. After spending five Christmases in a row on deployment though, I started to realise change was needed.
Before he could formally leave the Navy, Matt found himself drawn towards Air Traffic Control. He withdrew his notice during his 12-month period and became an Aircraft Controller, heading out on deployment again on HMS Argyll and eventually being based back at the tower at Yeovilton where he would spend his remaining years.
“I then decided a change was once again needed. Two of my biggest regrets happened during this period though. First was leaving the Navy full stop, but secondly was not making the most of my resettlement. There were no social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn to get advice or connect with people who can help. I ended up in low-level civilian roles back home putting all my transferable skills to waste. I also could have done with some good advice on my pension and gratuity, which would have made a big difference to what I received.”
Eventually, via several other roles, Matt would be offered a move to Yeovil to take up an opportunity within Morson Group’s Morson Forces division, the specialist recruitment arm with over 20 years’ experience with ex-forces veterans and their redeployment into civilian life. At any one time, Morson has in excess of 2,500 ex-military contract and permanent staff from the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force working in the UK and overseas.
“Having done my homework on the company I knew this was the role for me. Everything was perfect, the timing and the set up. I use my passion, knowledge and network to find the right candidate for the right role. I love to give as much advice as I can to any candidate who asks, to ensure they are as educated as possible about the positions available to them. That way, they won’t make the same mistakes I have in the past.”
Supporting White Ensign Association
Matt chose to support the White Ensign Association for the charity bike ride after realising the importance of such an organisation firsthand. “I wish I’d have known about it when I needed help. It’s a massively underrated charity which regularly gets forgotten.”
The White Ensign Association is a registered charity founded in 1958. It was set up to provide a financial advisory service of the highest calibre for all serving and retired personnel of the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines and more. Over the years, the role has developed and expanded to include the provision of assistance in resettlement and employment in civilian life.
The motivation for getting on a bike to raise this money came from an MOT health check on Matt that he received through Morson.
“I found out I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and after blood tests found that my kidneys and liver were in bad shape. At 38 this put me at a high risk of a stroke or a heart attack, so I realised I had to change my diet and start some form of physical exercise.”
Matt hadn’t ridden more than five miles on a bike and not done regular riding in some time.
“I sit at a desk all day, don’t do sport and it takes me five minutes to walk to work. Something had to change. My director Tony [Beaumont] goes on various charity cycle rides and he mentioned he was thinking of organising a ride from RNAS Yeovilton to RNAS Culdrose. I joked and said it would be good motivation for me to take part, and before I knew it I was involved and the ride had extended to include a return trip too!”
Matt is currently training on his first ever road bike averaging around 22 miles per day.
“A few months ago I struggled to do 25 miles with an average speed of 10mph. Just recently I smashed out over 82 miles averaging roughly 15.5mph!”