24th June Journal Column

By Pete Tighe, Director at NCT SKILLS FOR LIFE

It’s common knowledge that our industry needs 230,000 new workers by 2020, and with fewer graduates coming into the sector and even fewer school leavers considering roles in the industry, the recruitment of military service leavers should be given serious consideration.

According to the Charted Institute of Building (CIOB), around 20,000 people leave the military every year and the majority of them will possess the skills and background needed to have a successful career in construction.

Those in the army have high management and problem solving skills, a great work ethos and team working skills better than most people. Sure, they don’t always have the qualifications, but the construction industry should consider the merits of attitudes and reskilling potential rather than attained technical skill.

The army teaches people highly transferrable skills, and produces committed, highly trained people that I think can easily be moved into the construction industry and be beneficial to construction, and when you have people who possess such important skills, it would be silly to rule them out because of a lack of qualifications.

As people around the country prepare to support Armed Forces Day tomorrow (25 June), we’re being made aware of more and more initiatives which are running to raise awareness of construction careers among the armed forces.

We work in a people-based industry, what we need are leaders and those who possess highly transferrable skills.

The Joint Enterprise Forces –Construction Employability Pathway (JEF–CEP) is a North East campaign, which trains young people and gives them Armed Forces experience at the start of their career to help as they progress with their onward pathway in the construction industry.

The JEF-CEP program is a 12-week programme, which includes 4 weeks of Armed Forces exposure and 8 weeks of construction skills training meaning graduates of the JEF-CEP program get the best of both worlds, Armed Forces led soft skill development and a Level 1 Certificate in Multitrade Construction Activities.

The programme is a solution to many of the problems we’ve faced in the past; getting young people into the industry, solving the job shortage, and finding people that have the skills needed to progress within the industry.

I encourage companies within the industry, whether large or small, to take on apprentices from initiatives like JEF-CEP, they really are helping you kill three (or more) birds, with one very big, and very clever stone.