Military leavers 'ideal' for management roles

28 May 2016

CIOB launches campaign to attract ex-military to construction ahead of Armed Forces Day.

Military leavers who enter the construction industry often “aim too low”, taking junior roles when they are more suited to management jobs, according to an armed forces recruitment adviser.

Rebecca Lovelace, BuildForce project manager from Circle Three Consulting, told Construction Manager that many ex-armed forces members are “interested in the industry”, but believe their skills are only suited to lower-level entry positions when they should be aiming much higher.

She was speaking as the CIOB launched a new campaign to attract military leavers into the construction industry, ahead of Armed Forces day on 25 June.

“Many people’s expectations are too low, when they could and should be aiming for management positions in the construction industry,” Lovelace said.

"All the skills they have learned in the military are transferable, such as leadership, management of people and resources."

Rebecca Lovelace, BuildForce

“All the skills they have learned in the military are transferable, such as leadership, management of people and resources. With the help of ourselves, CIOB and some of our construction partners, we hope to put people on the right path and with some further training and direction they can excel.”   

Buildforce works directly with a number of large contractors – such as Carillion, Crossrail, LendLease, Morgan Sindall and Wilson James as well as others – to place military leavers into construction jobs.

The organisation has been in existence for 18 months and is an initiative coordinated by industry charity the Construction Youth Trust and part-funded by the CITB. It was set up to educate, inspire and inform service leavers about the wide range of career opportunities in construction.

The armed services and construction have a long history, with many ex-armed forces members joining the industry. Both share an ethos and enjoy cultural similarities such as having clear hierarchies and chains of command, as well as relying on careful planning behind the scenes rather than just boots on the ground, according to Lovelace.

With thousands of people leaving the military each year, the CIOB is keen to attract some of the best people and offer them a number of routes to get chartered. The idea is mutually beneficial for both parties as defence cuts continue and there remains a large skills shortage in the construction industry.

The CIOB offers a number of routes to becoming chartered, depending on experience and qualifications.

For example, if an ex-military member has a degree, they can study part-time for the CIOB Graduate Conversion Course, a fast way of building up knowledge and expertise of site management.

The Institute also supports candidates with technical qualifications, such as an HNC in Military Clerk of Works, or Design Draughtsman Class 1, into full Chartered Membership through a number of programmes, such as Chartered Membership Programme or CIOB Accredited National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs).

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