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‘Building new careers in construction

‘Building new careers in construction

CASE STUDY

11 Sep, 2019

According to one of the country’s leading suppliers of building materials, former Armed Forces personnel have the perfect traits for careers in construction. Here we introduce just a few of the many Service leavers who have gone on to craft themselves successful second careers in that flourishing sector

SIG Distribution has provided a range of careers for those who have left the Armed Forces, employing many with military backgrounds across its UK workforce. It describes team working, leadership and problem solving as the three main transferable qualities former military personnel tend naturally to have, which makes them great candidates for careers in construction. Other traits include discipline, a good work ethic, confidence and strong decision-making skills.

Team working, leadership and problem solving are the main transferable qualities former military personnel tend naturally to have, which makes them great candidates for careers in construction

Team working, leadership and problem solving are the main transferable qualities former military personnel tend naturally to have, which makes them great candidates for careers in construction

We’ve seen first-hand that Forces leavers make great employees in the construction sector. Not only do they have significant experience, they’re motivated, versatile and fast learners

Fran Galbraith, group talent and development director, SIG plc

Some of SIG Distribution’s workers with military backgrounds give their take on working in the construction sector …

  • Phil Coghlan is transformation director at SIG following nine years in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers serving in Germany, Bosnia and Iraq. He comments: ‘The Army prepared me to be a good generalist. After I left I realised that my colleagues who’d had careers in engineering or finance were experts in quite narrow areas, whereas I was good at understanding a broader situation and very quickly working out what needed to be done with a team whose skills were quite different to mine. The construction industry relies on practical people who can solve a problem and who get the job done whatever challenge stands in their way. This is exactly the mind-set that people learn in the Forces.’
  • Andrew Lawson (pictured) is a project manager at SIG following more than 20 years in the Armed Forces, where he served in numerous roles, including Army Officer, military logistics, air assault forces and bomb disposal. He says: ‘The Army, like SIG, is multi-functional with multiple departments, areas and sites that all contribute to the bigger picture. While I’m new to the construction industry, I’m already seeing many similarities with the Armed Forces. The biggest appears to be when we support our customers, going the extra mile to ensure they meet their objectives.’
  • Former Royal Navy Marine Engineer Terry Burdon spent four years in the military before finding a career as a category manager at SIG Distribution in Leeds. He adds: ‘The main issue I had was transitioning from a job I always wanted to do and had dreamed about as a child, to being out of work and having no clue what I wanted to do. Thankfully the core skills I learned in the Armed Forces made me persevere and helped me to find a new career that I enjoy and can be proud of.’

 

Each year, about 15,000 people leave the Armed Forces in the UK, equipped with a range of skills and abilities perfectly suited to careers in construction. 

Says Fran Galbraith, group talent and development director at SIG plc, ‘We’ve seen first-hand that Armed Forces leavers make great employees in the construction sector, where we have had a lot of success recruiting Service leavers into a variety of roles, such as drivers, operations managers and senior management positions. Not only do they have significant experience, but they have first-class personal qualities – they’re motivated, versatile and fast learners. They also have lots of transferable skills, such as teamwork, organisation, planning and communication.

‘We would encourage Service personnel looking for civilian career options to take a look at our careers website for current vacancies, to see where their skills may match.’

ABOUT SIG

SIG is a leading distributor of specialist building products in Europe, with strong positions in its three core product areas of insulation and interiors, roofing and exteriors and air handling. It plays a critical role in the construction supply chain, ensuring that its customers receive the right product, in the right place, at the right time. SIG operates from trading sites across the UK and Ireland, and mainland Europe.

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