Barratt Developments, celebrating its 60th year in 2018, is continuing its recruitment scheme to bring former military personnel into the new homes industry, now in its third year.
The Trainee Assistant Site Manager programme takes those who used to work in one of the armed forces and trains them through a targeted one-year course to become an assistant site managers over the course of a year. Starting with a pilot of seven applicants, the scheme this year it is taking on 46.
One major example is in Devon, where no fewer than 10 ex-forces personnel are currently benefitting from the housebuilder’s scheme. One of them is Greig Mills from Tiverton, currently working at Minerva, a Barratt Homes development in Exeter.
“There are some really good opportunities out there and forward-thinking companies like Barratt Homes really appreciate the skills that ex-military people have,” says the former marine. “There are a lot of attributes you develop in the forces that translate well to the construction industry, like strong leadership, and it’s a fun sector to be in. The buzz you get from seeing the finishing touches go on a house is rewarding and it’s great to do a job that has a physical aspect to it too.”
David Wilson Homes’ construction director, Gareth Neale – an ex-military man himself – says the armed forces background makes people ideal for management roles in the construction industry. “We find former armed service personnel have strong leadership and management skills, as well as an ability to think outside the box, work under pressure and maintain the very highest of standards,” he says. “They’re all the attributes that make a top site or project manager. This isn’t just a short-term opportunity either. We really do see our site managers and project managers of the future on this programme and there will be plenty of opportunities for those who are passionate and ambitious to have a very successful career with David Wilson.”
Working at the company’s De Cheney Gardens development in Beckington, Somerset, is Duncan Foster, who completed the programme in November 2017 and is now an assistant site manager. He comments: “There are some really good opportunities out there and David Wilson Homes really appreciates the skills that ex-military people have. As a company they have supported my transition from the forces to civilian life and the training they have provided me in order to progress has been second to none.
“A lot of the skills and qualities ingrained into you in the military translate really well into housebuilding. For example communication and leadership are vital in order to get a project completed on time, determination to ensure all the component parts work together to the required standard, discipline to ensure you can take responsibility for the blokes on your site, and a good sense of humour is often required!
“I’m really happy with my career change. You get a real buzz from being a valued member of the team and seeing a project completed from start to finish.”
Nick Pilkington is 28-years-old and currently halfway through the training programme, working at the Park Farm development in Thornbury, near Bristol. Once in the army’s military police force, he loves his new role: “It’s refreshing to have a job where you go home at the end of the day and know that you won’t get sent half way around the world at short notice. It means I get to spend a lot more time with my friends and family. Plus, it’s great working outside, especially in weather like we’re having at the moment!”
The company has ex-forces personnel based on its sites in Ivybridge, Cullompton, Plymouth and Brixton.