The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) is supporting a campaign to encourage army leavers to plug the construction industry’s skills gap.
Ahead of Armed Forces Day on Saturday, the CIOB is backing BuildForce – a cross-industry initiative – to raise awareness of the construction careers open to armed forces leavers and veterans.
With around 20,000 men and women leaving the army every year and an estimated 230,000 new workers needed in construction by 2020, the construction body is backing the industry drive for more military recruits.
Having developed strong team-working leadership and communications skills, military personnel have learnt to adapt to rapidly changing environments, collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds and take responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of large numbers of workers.
This makes them ideally suited to many managerial roles in construction, claims the CIOB who, in a survey of more than 700 construction professionals, found 77 per cent of respondents said ex-service personnel could help plug the management skills gap in the industry.
Following a successful 18-month pilot, BuildForce – which is part-funded by the UK’s skills and training body, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), and led by a group of founding companies Carillion, Crossrail, EY, Lendlease, Morgan Sindall and Wilson James – will be officially launched at a CIOB parliamentary reception on June 29.
CIOB president Chris Chivers said: “Construction is a people-based industry, and it needs leaders just as urgently as those with technical skills. For ex-military personnel, there has never been a better time to join the sector. Technological advances are creating new and exciting opportunities.
“But without a pipeline of new decision makers, the UK construction sector’s growth and global competitiveness will be severely under threat. It’s important that we act together to establish and strengthen recruitment paths across the armed forces, tapping into this very valuable resource, supporting our ex-military personnel and boosting the UK economy.”
Andrew Parker, director of defence at Morgan Sindall and chair of BuildForce added: “With nearly 20,000 men and women leaving the armed forces every year, this provides a natural resource of managerial talent for employers. In many cases, ex-military personnel have already developed strong leadership and management skills, but may lack specific construction knowledge.
“Our aim at BuildForce is to bridge that gap, alerting people to the opportunities in the construction sector at an earlier stage in their military career, providing access to training, mentoring and working with organisations such as CIOB to help them gain built-environment qualifications before they leave the services.
“We would like BuildForce to become the go-to organisation for enabling ex-military personnel to get into construction whilst also helping smooth the transition into civilian life.”