James Andrews

James writes:

I’ve volunteered to be a mentor for BuildForce.

BuildForce is a new programme to help ex-services personnel into construction and engineering.

I believe I can help because I have experience of working my way up through various construction roles including

  • general labourer
  • site person in charge
  • lead site person in charge
  • and now I’m senior recruitment support coordinator.

I have an interest in the military and veterans, because I have family and friends that served. I know the struggle they had to find work once they left. Also I have heard about the struggle some people have with adapting, having come out of a military role.

I volunteered because I would like to see our service men and women given more help after they have left. They should know that there are people that appreciate all they have done for our country, and want to show that appreciation by supporting them into new roles.

Introductory meeting

We started with an introductory Skype meeting. Laura Perry, our HR manager, and I had a Skype meeting with people from around 12 other companies last week. Khalid Khan, national training manager for Carillion, led the call to introduce everyone, and go through some of the work that will be required by us when we are mentors.

Khalid told us about what was involved in the programme. We’ll get training and support from BuildForce, starting with some online courses which they’ll put onto the BuildForce website. We’ll work our way through these. Then we’ll be assigned ex-forces personnel who are interested in support to consider a career in construction.

We’ll each be assigned up to three mentees. We’ll meet them face-to-face first, so you know who you’re talking to rather than just be on the phone to a random voice. Then we will talk to them for around an hour a month (each) discussing their career paths and answering questions.

At the end of the mentor period of three to six months we’ll assess how well it’s gone. Hopefully they’ll have met their challenges and we’ll be able to have a celebration before we wish them well and start working with the next group of ex-forces leavers.

I’m looking forward to our next meeting and getting more involved in the coming weeks.

Author: James Andrews, senior recruitment support coordinator

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