Skills programme to retrain veterans in construction starts in Durham

The Combat to Construction project, a skills programme aimed at retraining veterans in trades such as bricklaying and carpentry, starts in the north east

A skills programme aimed bringing former military personnel into the construction industry has begun, with the first veterans starting work.

The Combat to Construction project is a national programme that aims to increase the number of skilled workers in the country by retraining veterans.

The scheme, which is starting in Durham, will see veterans’ charity Finchale work with housebuilder Persimmon Homes to support 180 people this year.

Trainees will learn bricklaying and joinery skills.

Quality training for former military personnel

Speaking to the Northern Echo, Finchale’s chief executive Mel Pears said: “We are excited to welcome Persimmon’s trainees to Finchale. It’s our commitment to help more people gain the skills they need to access more employment opportunities.

“Like Persimmon Homes, we have an unparalleled understanding of the skills and ambitions that ex-forces bring to the employment market and have a proven track record of helping all ranks, trades, backgrounds and services to find and remain in work.

“We are delighted that trainees will now be able to take advantage of our accommodation facilities whilst developing the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their professional goals, and ultimately bring economic success to the wider community.”

Gareth Barnes, of Persimmon Homes, said: “Service leavers have an excellent reputation as loyal and hardworking and many have transferable skills into the construction industry.

“Combat to Construction has already been recognised by the Ministry of Defence for its success and as we take the initiative to the next level of its expansion we are delighted to be able to work with the team at Finchale to offer a full package to our employees.”

Recruitment difficulties in the construction sector remain an issue, with the problem expecting to worsen in 2017.

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