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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 civil engineering firm, Minster Group, as its 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 the organisation’s workforce. 

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 road workers safe.

Sian said: “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. After serving for 13 years, I was ready to leave my role to offer more stability for my children; and having this experience in health & safety fired my passion to start a new career in the civilian world.

“Unfortunately, it’s well known that people leaving the armed forces can face difficulty getting into the world of civilian work, and 2020 was a very difficult year for me. 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.

“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.

“And although the change from military to civilian working life is completely different, since starting this new role at Minster Group, 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.” 

Minster Group is already part of the Armed Forces Covenant – a voluntary pledge ensuring that those who serve, or who have served, in the armed forces are treated with fairness and respect in the world of work. Other ex-forces employees at the firm include former paratrooper, James Allibone, who is now a team leader at Minster Group. 

As a company based in “Bomber County” that works closely with the Ministry of Defence, Minster Group is dedicated to doing what it can to support the armed forces community. In 2019, the organisation achieved an MoD Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Silver Award in recognition of its support for service men and women through the Armed Forces Covenant.

Bruce Spencer-Knott, Managing Director of Minster Group, said: “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. ” 

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