Willmott Dixon Supporting Forces Leavers into Construction

Thursday 22nd April, 2021





Supporting Forces Leavers into Construction

Willmott Dixon offer work placements, mentoring, and construction careers advice and guidance to support people leaving the Forces in their transition to civilian life.

Signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant, Willmott Dixon are committed to supporting the Armed Forces Community. There is a strong Military presence in the South West and we very much value the transferable skills Service Leavers and Veterans bring into the industry. Willmott Dixon’s Wales & the West region therefore work closely with the Royal Marines Charity as well as BuildForce. This is a collaborative, industry-led programme that aims to inspire and enable Service Leavers and Veterans to transition to sustainable employment in the construction industry. We joined the BuildForce Alliance in February 2019 providing industry advice, mentoring and work placements to their candidates.

The Challenge:
Around 14,000 people leave the Armed Forces each year, equipped with highly valuable military skills like teamwork, punctuality, leadership and motivation. Many Military Leavers are not aware of the opportunities available within the construction industry, despite the fact that there are many overlaps which make construction an attractive sector for Forces Leavers and also enable them to use their skills most effectively.

The Response:
Willmott Dixon engage with military charities and organisations to assist people from the Forces to make the switch to civilian life and raise their awareness of the opportunities the construction industry offers.
Whilst on site at SEIC3 we attended the Armed Forces Resettlement and Careers Fair at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone in September 2019, as well as the CTP Service Leavers Resettlement Event in November 2020, speaking to over 100 Service Leavers about career opportunities in the industry.

We facilitated work experience placements for four Former Royal Marines who were interested in a career in construction and wanted to explore the role of site manager.
The candidates’ time with us was split between our Somerset Energy Innvocation Centre Building 3 site and our Polden Bower SEN School site to ensure they would experience a variety of construction projects at different stages of the construction process. They were supported by Site Manager Steve and Building Manager Jon, both FormerRoyal Marines themselves, as well as our Health & Safety Manager Karl who used to serve in the Army, who offered construction career guidance and mentoring.


During the placement subjects like Construction Health & Safety, Supply Chain Coordindation, Commercial Management, Planning and Programming, and many more were covered.

The Results:
The site team were very impressed with the mindset, work ethos and transferrable skills the four candidates showed while on site. The Forces Leavers on the other hand were thankful for the opportunity we provided.

RM Colour Sergeant Stephen Harrison is in his last few months of his resettlement and spent a week with Willmott Dixon splitting his time between SEIC3 and Polden Bower. When asked for feedback, he said:

“My experience and the value the placement offered me, with the view of entering the construction industry, were outstanding. The first two days I spent with Jon Owen, a former fellow Marine who shared his daily routine with me, from liaising with the tradesmen to showing me how the company and building regulations work; he even had me snagging the outside of the building on an iPad.
The rest of the week was spent with Karl Halford, senior H&S officer and Steve Piper another fellow marine, both offered mentoring and a deeper insight of the industry.
Overall the week concluded this is something I definitely want to do and would value further work experience with Willmott Dixon. The week was well organised and very professional and definitely something I would recommend to others in their resettlement wanting to pursue a career in construction. “


Transferrable Solutions:
Willmott Dixon will continue to inspire and enable Service Leavers to take up a career in the Construction industry and support the Royal Marines Charity and BuildForce with their work.