As part of an initiative to attract former service personnel into the construction industry, Coleg Cambria is hosting a Forces in Construction Insight Day next week.

Organised by the Construction Industry Training Board, Kier, the MoD’s Career Transition Partnership and the college itself, the event is being backed by a wealth of construction companies including BMI, the only manufacturer to attend, and showcases employment, career and training opportunities,

BMI UK & Ireland – along with Avonside Roofing and North West Roof Training Group – will be doing demonstrations using its Redland pitched and Icopal flat roofing products.

The conference, being held at the Deesside college on Wednesday (10 October), also features sessions on transitioning into construction, training and adapting skills learned in the forces to suit the sector. It will be rounded off by a presentation of success stories.

It is one of several similar events, many under the umbrella of BuildForce. Launched in January 2017, BuildForce is an alliance of construction employers, industry bodies and service charities, supported by the government, connecting service leavers and veterans with job opportunities in construction and giving construction employers access to a unique pool of armed forces talent.

According to BMI, the construction industry is committed to being a good choice for veterans: especially given the transferable skills that they have. They are used to an active and fast-paced lifestyle, a high degree of self-reliance and initiative, the ability to work in teams or independently, and being at ease with giving and taking orders. Other desirable traits for employers include time-keeping, presentation, quality workmanship, discipline, attention to detail and the ability to focus on targets.

The appeal of roofing to veterans – and their aptitude for it – was clear at the BMI Apprentice of the Year competition in June, where several finalists turned out to have service experience.

One such was Tom Thompson, who was Highly Commended in the BMI Redland pitched roofing category of the competition. Tom – also previously a runner-up, with a judge’s commendation, in the 2017 national SkillBuild finals – heartily recommends the trade to those looking for a new start outside of the forces.

He said: “It’s not nine-to-five, it keeps your mind going, hands busy and you can proud of the finished product. I would recommend it to anyone coming out – and say: never be afraid to re-train. There’s a lot of support available – I got tons from my tutor and the training is there from manufacturers like BMI too."