The construction industry is one of the most vibrant economies in the UK. Three-quarters of contractors are operating at or near full capacity. Consequently, the sector has an escalating demand for recruits, not only for trades but increasingly those with leadership and management skills. Overall construction needs more than 160,000 new recruits by 2023.
Every year, 20,000 men and women leave the armed forces. Many have worked in challenging environments, demanding strong collaborative and leadership skills. Their experiences often make them ideally suited to careers in construction.
Watch our video, a partnership with ITN Productions, about the Armed Forces in construction:
Case Study: Andy Parker, Director of Defence at Morgan Sindall
Andy spent 27 years in the Royal Air Force, rising to the rank of Squadron Leader. He joined Morgan Sindall in 2010 and is the Chair of BuildForce.
Case Study: Edward Provost-Lines MCIOB, Contracts Manager at Breyer Group Plc
In 2008, Edward Provost Lines left the Army after serving eight years. After completing what Edward wanted to achieve in the army he looked to find a company that was prepared to offer a role as an Trainee/Assistant Site Manager.
"Serving in an infantry regiment as both mechanised and light infantry, through an in-service injury I was forced to move into a non-combat role and served four years in an Army Parachute Display Team.
I had always envisaged working in the construction industry but not until I had done my time within Her Majesty’s services. I decided to discuss the role with my father a 30 years plus veteran of the industry and himself an FCIOB.
My father did not hesitate to tell me that although I did not have any Construction Technical Training, I did indeed have other skills essential to the management of construction projects:
Logistics - Managing a sections/team travelling the world with essential equipment and liaising with event managers required high levels of Logistical ability.
Leadership – together with my team I was responsible for the output and performance of the team, to ensure minimal financial support for the Forces and to continue promoting the Army to the general public.
Team Player - No greater team effort required than as a front line infantry regiment and or Parachute display member.
Health and Safety - The safety of my peers ensuring equipment met the strictest standards whether in the field or out of an aircraft.
Planning and Programming - Without effective advance planning the display team could miss events and certainly the precise timing of jumps to meet the requirements of event organisers as well as the British Parachute Association.
Communication - In the military communication is key to saving lives and high on the agenda on a daily basis.
Risk Mitigation - Again high on military list of requirements for a leader and organiser.
So it was clear that these, and other skills I possessed left me ready for the role of Assistant Site Manager. Prior to leaving the Army I interviewed for an opening with a Company called The Breyer Group for an assistant site management role. After successfully passing 2 interviews I was offered the position on an internal and external refurbishment contract for a year. I was predominantly taken on due to my people management and organisational skills as my construction knowledge was at this point very limited.
This was a very good foundation to build upon as this exposed me to a multitude of works streams which pretty much covered everything within a house minus constructing the fabric of the building. This was an extremely intense job as time scales were limited as well as budget not to mention the fact that all the plots were still lived in.
After successful completion of the contract I moved to my first high rise job, this was only internals but now with the added bonus of managing, planning, programming the logistics that high rises require.
Once this Contract was completed I was then moved onto my first large refurbishment new build contract. During this time I had completed my First Aid, Fire warden, SMSTS and started my ACIOB course. This I felt was the best way of me attaining a recognised qualification as well as continued on the job experience.
I was shortly promoted to Site manager once I attained my ACIOB and continued to work on a multitude of contracts which again gave me the exposure I required to develop into my current role as a Contracts Manager with my Full membership. During this journey I have been extremely fortunate to have had very good support from my managers as well as from The Breyer Group."
EDWARD PROVOST-LINES CONTRACTS MANAGER AT BREYER GROUP PLC