Future of construction Campaign

Attracting military leavers into construction

Our campaign to connect the industry with those who have a military background and are looking for an exciting new career.

Last updated: 8th March 2022

Recruiting from the military into construction

Our message to ex-service men and women is not to undervalue their skills but to aim for management level careers in construction. 

We are urging the industry to get involved with initiatives like BuildForce to increase awareness at exit fairs for what a career in construction can offer.

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.

My last role in the RAF was Military Assistant to the Commander of Kandahar airbase. It was an immense operation with 30,000 troops. As well as managing people, I had to manage a vast amount of information from a wide variety of sources. I was dealing with everything from air traffic control to infrastructure. My experiences in the RAF have been good preparation for my subsequent career in construction. There are lots of similarities between the sectors: military organisations and contractors are both hierarchical organisations with clear command chains. In both sectors, effective communication can be the difference between life and death. Now, as Director of Defence at Morgan Sindall, I look after all the defence contracts nationally in the UK and work with a number of high-profile clients to deliver a multi-million pound portfolio of projects. Morgan Sindall actively recruits from the military and we find that service leavers fit well with our organisation. They’re the kind of people that bring that extra bit to a project: a strong work ethic, a collaborative mindset, and a focus on quality and getting the job done. From an employer’s perspective, the benefits of recruiting from the armed forces are obvious. The combination of a military mindset with a construction qualification is an asset to any project or team.

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.