Call in the Army! UK lures soldiers into skills-starved construction industry

A campaign has been launched in the UK to lure ex-military personnel into the construction industry, which is facing an acute skills shortage.

With cuts in military posts in recent years, large numbers of ex-service personnel are entering the UK job market, while the latest forecasts predict that construction will need to find almost 224,000 new recruits by 2019 – 17,000 of those being managers.

Men and women who have served in the military often possess skills which are highly sought after in the construction industry– Bridget Bartlett, CIOB deputy chief executive

Current projections suggest that over 20,000 men and women leave the armed forces every year at a time when construction is crying out for good managers, says the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), which launched the campaign in the build up to Armed Forces Day on 27 June.

"Men and women who have served in the military often possess excellent leadership, team working, project management and problem solving skills, all of which are highly sought after in the construction industry," said Bridget Bartlett, CIOB deputy chief executive.

The outreach may be welcome to ex-soldiers because figures suggest they’re having difficulty finding work on civvy street. According to the British Legion only 60% of working age ex-service personnel are employed, which contrasts with 73% of the general population.

Some firms in the UK industry have already spotted the potential: housebuilder Persimmon Homes recently announced a formal recruitment drive to retrain up to 500 ex-military personnel. 

Research suggests that a link between the army and the industry is there anyway, and could be strengthened. Listed contractor Morgan Sindall looked into its staff and found that 10% of employees already have direct or family connections to the military.

The CIOB offers routes to professional management qualifications in construction and says there is already common ground in training and professional development.

Military qualifications for Clerk of Works or Design Draftsman are recognised for the CIOB’s membership programmes.

The CIOB says will be promoting resources across social media using the hashtag #SaluteOurForces.

Further information about the armed forces route into membership can be found here.

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  1. The forces personnel have a lot of skills and abilities to give to any industry, and will have basic skills that companies can build and develop on. On the management and problem solving skills they are second to none, but the biggest problem is that sometime hiring managers often overlook these skills.

    Service personnel are by their very nature, do not blow their own trumpets so to speak and look at the skills and abilities they acquired in their service as something that everyone else should have and so why mention it on a CV.

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