BuildForce is part-funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Structured & Flexible Fund and is backed by its founding partners: Carillion, Crossrail, EY, Lendlease, Morgan Sindall and Wilson James.
It aims to help reduce construction skills gaps while helping ex-military personnel – through information, mentoring, work placements and training – into careers. Early successes include a former regimental administration warrant officer for the Kings Royal Hussars who is now head of Carillion’s construction training centre in Bristol, and a serving Royal Engineer given a two-week work placement with EY on a Network Rail engagement, and set to join EY full-time in March.
BuildForce is chaired Andy Parker, a former RAF squadron leader who is now director of defence at Morgan Sindall. He said: “UK construction needs to find over 220,000 new workers by 2019. With 120,000 ex-services personnel currently without work in the UK and around 14,000 more leaving the services annually, BuildForce aims to smooth the military-to-construction transition.”
According to the latest CITB Construction Skills Network report, the industry needs to recruit 157,000 new people over the next five years. That forecast was reduced by a third, down from 232,000, after the EU referendum last year.
CITB industry director Mark Noonan said: “The skills of ex-servicemen and women are ideal for the construction sector. Forces personnel are natural team players, used to getting results in challenging situations and often have excellent leadership skills.
“CITB is pleased to support Buildforce because the armed forces are an excellent source of construction managers, surveyors, civil engineers and tradespeople. CITB looks forward to helping forces personnel make a swift and smooth transition into a rewarding sector that has many opportunities.”
BuildForce plans to set up a national network of champions, ambassadors and mentors to support ex-military personnel into new roles across the construction and wider built environment sectors. It is also looking for construction industry organisations to sign the BuildForce Charter and support the programme. See buildforce.org.uk for details.