Opinion

How armed forces benefit the built environment

7 January 2020 | By Andy Dodson

Keeping learning flexible and accessible encourages ex services personnel to bring their valuable skills to construction, writes Andy Dodson.

Armed forces personnel are extremely valuable to the built environment. Well known for their commitment, skill and discipline, as well as their ability to focus under stressful situations, they hold many transferable skills such as project management, leadership, problem solving and teamworking.

At University College of Estate Management (UCEM), we have a long history of armed forces personnel and veterans studying for our qualifications. When war broke out in 1939, the College of Estate Management (as it was known) delivered correspondence courses to over 13,000 servicemen at home and abroad.

“UCEM recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, a pledge that acknowledges that those who serve or have served in the armed forces should be treated with fairness and respect.”

Andy Dodson, UCEM

The college also worked with the British Red Cross to deliver courses to British servicemen being kept as prisoners of war across Europe.

In the last three years, more than 60 service personnel or veterans have enrolled on one of our programmes.

Now an apprenticeship programme delivery manager with UCEM, I studied a BSc (Hons) in construction management while serving with the Royal Engineers in places such as Afghanistan and Kenya. I was well supported by my tutors and the wider UCEM team. The online resources were invaluable; distance was not a problem.

We want to make sure that we continue to make built environment qualifications accessible to all. UCEM recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, a pledge that acknowledges that those who serve or have served in the armed forces should be treated with fairness and respect. We have just received the bronze award from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme to prove our ongoing dedication to this pledge.

Our partnership with the armed forces continues to strengthen. We are working with Lendlease to deliver five online training modules about the industry for veterans, part of the CITB’s Pathways into Construction programme with BuildForce. These will provide a way for ex-personnel to gain an oversight of different areas of the industry before making an informed decision about which to focus on.

Andy Dodson is an apprenticeship delivery programme manager at the University College of Estate Management. To find out more please visit www.ucem.ac.uk/armedforces.

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