BuildForce, a UK-wide initiative encouraging military service leavers and veterans to take up careers in construction, has paired 320 former servicemen and women with industry mentors since it launched, according to new figures.
The initiative, which is an alliance of construction employers, industry bodies and charities supported by the government, has also resulted in 102 job starts since January 2017 when it began.
The news came as the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) announced that it was backing this year’s BuildForce campaign in the run-up to Armed Forces Day on 30 June.
The CIOB has been behind work to help address the skills shortage in the construction industry for several years, following survey data showing that 230,000 new recruits are needed in construction by 2020.
The survey also revealed that there is a particular demand for technical and managerial staff. Many of the estimated 20,000 men and women leaving the armed forces have the kind of skills that are transferable to the construction industry, according to CIOB.
The CIOB urged ex-service men and women is not to undervalue their skills but to aim for management-level careers in construction.
Among the skills and experience on offer to the construction industry are those who’ve developed strong team-working, leadership and communications skills, experience with rapidly changing environments, collaborating with people from diverse backgrounds and taking responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of large teams.
CIOB chief executive Chris Blythe said: “Construction needs leaders as well as those with technical skills and experience. We are urging the industry to get involved with initiatives like BuildForce to increase the awareness of what a career in construction can offer. It’s also an opportunity to support the UK construction sector’s growth and global competitiveness so it’s important that we act together to establish and strengthen the recruitment paths for those leaving the armed forces, supporting our ex-military personnel and boosting the UK economy.”
The CIOB has developed some different routes to membership and chartered status, depending on experience and qualifications, and can support service leavers with training and advice.
BuildForce also offer support in smoothing the transition into civilian life and connecting service leavers with job opportunities.