On 29 June 2016 John Spellar MP attended a meeting of leading construction industry figures in Parliament to back a cross-industry initiative to increase recruitment from the armed forces into the construction sector.

The Reception, hosted by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and industry initiative group BuildForce, sought to raise awareness of the opportunities that lie in the construction industry for the 20,000 individuals that leave the military each year.


The event in Parliament explored how policy makers and industry can do better to create stronger and recognizable routes out of the armed forces into careers in the construction sector that would benefit both employers and service leavers.

Commenting on the discussion, Mr Spellar said: “Over 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 and this can be seen at both a local and national level.

“With roughly 20,000 men and women leaving the armed forces annually, there is a huge opportunity to utilise their 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 opportunities that exist in construction.”

CIOB President Chris Chivers 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.”

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