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Military dog handler turns to road safety

A former military dog handler, who worked alongside the Army’s bomb disposal team, has joined Minster Group as our new health and safety advisor.

Sian Gidzinski, who completed two tours of Afghanistan during her 13-year career in the army, has joined Minster Group this month to oversee the health and safety of our workforce.

Sian and her dog
Sian during her years in the Army as a Working Dog Handler

Sian’s previous role saw her detecting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in warzones and assisting in explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). She also trained military dogs around the globe for royal and governmental ceremonies.

Sian’s background in some of the most high pressure, safety-critical roles in the world gives her a great deal of expertise to help keep our road workers safe.

“Working in the military, in high-risk operations such as IED bomb disposal and EOD ordnance disposal in Afghanistan, the safety of our force and civilians was of utmost importance.”

Sian Gidzinski, Health & Safety Officer at Minster Group

From IEDs to potholes

So, why the change to Health & Safety? After serving for 13 years, Sian was ready to leave her role in the forces to offer more stability for her children; and having this experience in health & safety fired her passion to start a new career in the civilian world.

But leaving the army didn’t come without its own challenges. Many ex-personnel face difficulty getting into the world of civilian work after leaving the armed forces, and – combined with the challenges of the global pandemic – 2020 proved to be a particularly difficult year for Sian:

“I must have applied to over 60 jobs since leaving the army in March and had no success. People weren’t willing to give me a chance.”


Fortunately, there is a network of companies which have expressed their commitment to treating current and former service personnel with the fairness and respect they deserve – and we’re proud to be part of it.

Sian and her dog
Sian during one of her deployments in Afghanistan

Support Armed Forces Covenant

Minster Group is a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant and last year we were recognised for our commitment to the covenant by being awarded the MoD Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award.

So when our Managing Director, Bruce Spencer-Knott, reached out to Sian to offer her an interview for our new Health and Safety role, Sian’s luck began to change.

Sian said: “When Bruce got in contact with me about the new role at Minster Group, I was ecstatic. It was fantastic to be given an opportunity in this current climate.”

“I’m so glad I reached out to Sian about this role – it’s great to have her on board and she’s already a great asset to the team. We’ve always had a strong health & safety ethos within our organisation, and Sian’s new role will help us take things to another level and I’m sure she’ll run a tight ship.”

Bruce Spencer-Knott, managing Director of minster Group

Although the change from military to civilian working life is completely different, since starting this new role at Minster Group, Sian said: “The team has been so friendly and welcoming, I can’t thank them enough. I hope my new role will welcome more women and ex-service personnel into considering a career in construction and engineering.” 

Find out more about Minster Group by visiting here or visit here for more information on signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant and support for current and former service personnel.

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