Last week on 14th-16th July, 12 service leavers attended the first ever 3-day BuildForce construction training event, hosted by Carillion,
Spread across 3 days, the free course was held at Kings Cross Construction Skills Centre in London, and aimed to deliver the following:
- Industry overview and career options: Provide service leavers with an understanding of the construction sector and the career opportunities that are available.
- Stories of transition: Hear from other service leavers who have successfully entered a career in construction and to understand their route into the industry.
- Transferable skills: Identify the transferable skills held by service leavers that are of relevance to construction sector roles
- Bespoke career guidance: Provision of advice and guidance about the entry requirements into chosen careers
- CSCS Training: Provision of Health and Safety training specific to the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS), plus registration for taking the test
- Employer engagement: Networking with contractors and other construction professionals, as well as information on job search, career opportunities and areas of construction growth.
BuildForce is a programme created for Service leavers who are interested in finding out about career opportunities in the construction and built environment sector. It is designed to support ex-military personnel to gain experience and employment through the provision of industry awareness days and work placement brokerage. The programme has been designed to support them in securing experience and employment through the provision of industry awareness days and work placement brokerage.
Attending the event was Ben Limb, 22, who served five years with the 2 Para Engineers who spoke about how he is building a new career in construction. He left the army last year and, following a BuildForce event at RAF Northolt, was offered a traineeship with The Carey Group, a leading multidisciplined construction and resource recovery group.
Ben said that although he was an engineer in the army he wanted to get into the financial side of construction. After a chat with his bosses at Careys they agreed to fund him to study a degree in quantity survey, which he is currently applying for.
Ben’s enthusiasm for his career in construction is infectious:
“This is the first job I’ve had where I want to go to work,” he said. “If you find something you want to do then it makes life so much easier. Careys are lucky too because they’re going to get the best quantity surveyor they’ve ever had!”
In addition to learning about various career options and hearing stories of transition, the service leavers were also treated to a private tour of the entire Kings Cross site by Alastair Mitchell, the Project Director at Carillion. For many this was a fascinating highlight of the course as they were able to see and learn about the work in detail.
Matthew Taylor, 30, spent ten years with 3 Para as the second in command of a patrol, including three tours of Afghanistan. Having completed a mechanical engineering work placement with Carillion, including a stint at Battersea Power station, Matthew applied for a traineeship with Crossrail.
Matthew said: “I enjoy the way things are put together. I’m particularly interested in mechanical and electrical and want to climb into a management role. As a native Londoner, Crossrail massively interests me and I’m hoping to build a second career there.”
On the last day of the course, the service leavers were able to network with potential employers which included Carillion, Blue Sky Recruitment, Morgan Sindall, Careys, LendLease, Crossrail and Wilson James. This was a chance to speak to other service leavers who had gone into employment at these companies and had first hand experience of the transition, as well as hearing about potential placement opportunities.
Sally Varley, 54, who served over twenty years with the RAF and now works at Carillion as a Regional Operations Manager, spent the day talking with potential recruits about their CVs and offering invaluable one-to-one advice about how to get into the industry.
Sally said: “For me, BuildForce is a fantastic opportunity to support service leavers and help them learn more about the construction industry and the opportunities it has to offer. It’s great to be able to highlight all the transferable skills they have to offer and how they can sell themselves. BuildForce provides a platform for service leavers of all ages to launch themselves into a new and rewarding career in construction.”
Aoife Drury, Coordinator for BuildForce commented: “This was our first 3-day event, and was a huge success with such enthusiasm and commitment from the service leavers. The support from our employers was invaluable and our attendees found the personal aspect highly motivating. Thanks also to Carillion for the site tour of Kings Cross which I believe was a highlight for many of our service leavers. Off the back of the success of this course, we are hoping to hold another 3-day event later in the year, which is very exciting.”