Richard thoroughly enjoyed his work placement with Lend Lease which he secured through the BuildForce programme.

After initial contact with Circle Three Consulting and Construction Youth Trust, Richard a Service Leaver from Staffordshire who had served 36 years in the military, was recommended he attend an upcoming BuildForce Industry Awareness Event held at RRC Aldershot.  We met with Richard after his placement to find out how he enjoyed working with Lend Lease in their planning/delivery department. 

Richard explained how he came about taking up a placement:

"The Awareness Event was well put together and provided a good insight into potential opportunities in the construction sector. Discussions with the presenters and commercial teams present were engaging, broadening and valuable. However it was the BuildForce team who suggested that I give consideration to a placement.

The procedure from there on was simple, quick and efficient. Indeed, communications, by both email and telephone, made life very easy. In short, there were no hurdles or impediments to taking up the placement."

After attending the event and signing up to be placed with an employer for a placement, the BuildForce team worked to ensure Richard was assigned a placement which suited his skills, interests and location:

"My placement was with Lend Lease; a major international construction company. The first day was taken up with a series of introductions and short briefings on the company, its sector and ethos. These were very useful and firstly set the context for the next two weeks and secondly provided me with contact with key individuals who would mentor and guide me through the placement.

The main element of the placement was with a planning and construction team on a key site in central London. I met a wide range of individuals who were engaging, hospitable and very professional. They gladly answered all my questions and helped build my confidence and accelerate my understanding of the sector.

In the second week I was encouraged to see other areas within the business and meet senior managers. I was given wide access and exposure to people and activities in the company."

Service Leavers have many valuable skills that are transferable to a career in construction and the built environment.

"Firstly, there are aspects of the construction industry that would make it immediately familiar to most military personnel. This includes, amongst other things; collaborative team working, task oriented teams, planning and project management, welfare and safety, problem solving and leadership.

I was left with the impression that military skills could be adapted easily to fit the needs of the construction industry."

"My strong recommendation is that you must actively engage and seek to make a positive contribution without interrupting the wider team’s ability to conduct business. Don’t be seen as a plodder, but by the same token don't be overly demanding. Keep your ears and eyes open and ask questions when appropriate. Feel for the nuances and keep an open mind."

Richard’s advice to those who are considering a career in construction is to undertake a work placement which will allow you to gain an insight into the construction sector in general and the ethos and practices of the company in particular. A placement will help you to:

  • Broaden your thinking
  • Understand commercial realities
  • Identify potential areas within the industry that suit your skills
  • Build your confidence
  • Focus your resettlement courses
  • Reduce your chance of making poor career choices

Richard thoroughly enjoyed his placement and has only praise for the BuildForce programme. 

"In a word; excellent. I met interesting and engaging people, undertook an enlightening and enjoyable placement and feel that it has broadened my horizons. Whatever the outcome, it has been hugely beneficial in aiding my mental and emotional transition out of the Services; I am better prepared for the commercial environment beyond the Armed Forces."