As part of an initiative to attract former service personnel into the construction industry, a Forces in Construction Insight Day, backed by BMI, is taking place today (10 October) in North East Wales.
Organised by the CITB, Kier, the MoD’s Career Transition Partnership and the college itself; the event, taking place in Coleg Cambria, Deeside.
It is being backed by a wealth of construction companies including BMI, the only manufacturer in attendance; and showcases employment, career and training opportunities.
BMI UK & Ireland – along with Avonside Roofing and North West Roof Training Group – is providing demonstrations using its Redland pitched and Icopal flat roofing products; and sees roofing as a trade that could appeal to veterans.
The conference further features sessions on transitioning into construction; training and adapting skills learnt in the forces to suit the sector, with the day being rounded off by a presentation of success stories.
It is one of several similar events, many under the umbrella of BuildForce.
Launched in January 2017, BuildForce is an alliance of construction employers, industry bodies and service charities, supported by the Government.
It connects service leavers and veterans with job opportunities in construction and gives construction employers access to a unique pool of armed forces talent.
With 44% of respondents in the Federation of Master Builders’ House Builders Survey 2018 experiencing shortages of skilled trades, while 14,000 people leave the services every year; the opportunity to help bridge the gap is clear.
The construction industry is committed to being a good choice for veterans: especially given the transferable skills that ex-service personnel have.
They are used to an active and fast paced lifestyle, a high degree of self-reliance and initiative; the ability to work in teams or independently; and being at ease with giving and taking orders.
Other desirable traits for employers also include: time-keeping, presentation, quality workmanship, discipline, attention to detail and the ability to focus on targets.
The appeal of roofing to veterans – and their aptitude for it – was clear at the BMI Apprentice of the Year competition in June, where several finalists turned out to have service experience.
One such was Tom Thompson, who was Highly Commended in the BMI Redland pitched roofing category of the competition. Tom – also previously a runner-up, with a judge’s commendation, in the 2017 national SkillBuild finals – heartily recommends the trade to those looking for a new start outside of the forces.
Tom commented: “It’s not nine-to-five, it keeps your mind going, hands busy and you can proud of the finished product.
“I would recommend it to anyone coming out – and say: never be afraid to re-train. There’s a lot of support available – I got tons from my tutor and the training is there from manufacturers like BMI too.”
To find out more about BuildForce, visit https://buildforce.org.uk/
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