The Chartered Institute of Building has created a clear route into membership for those with military experience, and is backing a cross-industry initiative to increase recruitment from the armed forces into the construction sector.

This follows a CIOB survey of more than 700 construction professionals, in which 77% of respondents said that ex-service personnel could help plug the management skills gap in the industry.

230,000 new recruits are needed in construction by 2020 and with three quarters of UK contractors operating at or near full capacity, skills shortages are no longer confined to the trades: demand for professional technical and managerial staff is escalating.

Chris Chivers CIOB President said: “Construction is a people-based industry, and it needs leaders just as urgently as those with technical skills. For ex-military personnel, there has never been a better time to join the sector. Technological advances are creating new and exciting opportunities.

“But without a pipeline of new decision makers, the UK construction sector’s growth and global competitiveness will be severely under threat. It’s important that we act together to establish and strengthen recruitment paths across the armed forces, tapping into this very valuable resource, supporting our ex-military personnel and boosting the UK economy.”

Roughly 20,000 men and women leave the armed forces annually, having developed strong team-working leadership and communications skills. Military personnel have learnt to adapt to rapidly changing environments, collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds and take responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of large numbers of workers. This makes them ideally suited to many managerial roles in construction.

As Armed Forces Day approaches [25 June 2016], CIOB is supporting BuildForce – a cross-industry initiative to raise awareness of the construction careers with armed forces leavers and veterans, and strengthen recruitment pathways from the services into the sector.

BuildForce is part-funded by CITB and led by a group of founding companies: Carillion, Crossrail, EY, Lendlease, Morgan Sindall and Wilson James. Following a successful 18 month pilot, BuildForce is expanding to include more industry partners.

In support of BuildForce, CIOB is promoting to armed service leavers accessible routes into a professional qualification that will help them gain management roles in construction.

Andrew Parker, Director of Defence at Morgan Sindall and Chair of BuildForce said: “With nearly 20,000 men and women leaving the armed forces every year, this provides a natural resource of managerial talent for employers. In many cases, ex-military personnel have already developed strong leadership and management skills, but may lack specific construction knowledge.

“Our aim at BuildForce is to bridge that gap, alerting people to the opportunities in the construction sector at an earlier stage in their military career, providing access to training, mentoring and working with organisations such as CIOB to help them gain built-environment qualifications before they leave the services.

“We would like BuildForce to become the go-to organisation for enabling ex-military personnel to get into construction whilst also helping smooth the transition into civilian life.” 

BuildForce is being formally launched at a CIOB parliamentary reception on 29 June 2016. It will be hosted by Johnny Mercer MP, a former British Army Officer.

To view the CIOB campaign please go to: –