On 27 June it’s Armed Forces Day and here, our CSR manager for Kier Regional Building North West, Lara DaRochaFaria talks about Project Recce, a community interest company which delivers a career transition programme for military and service leavers seeking to gain full-time employment in the construction industry.

“Project Recce is supported by The Royal Foundation and The Armed Forces Covenant, of which Kier is a signatory. It works in collaboration with Help for Heroes, Community Self Build (Veterans), Walking with the Wounded and The Royal British Legion. For the past six months, we have been supporting Project Recce, even throughout COVID-19.

In the past month I have delivered two virtual sessions. The first was a group employability skills workshop which had breakout rooms to offer feedback on candidate’s elevator pitches and we then held a follow up session a week later about the industry and Kier. Since then I have been supporting candidates with their CVs, one of whom went on to apply for a role with Eiffage Kier.

As part of our work with Project Recce we introduced them to two of our supply chain partners Provsec Limited and SES Engineering, both of which are working on our Birley Fields project in Manchester. Provsec has employed a candidate from the programme and they are currently working on Birley Fields and for one of the virtual sessions an employee from SES Engineering who is ex-military joined me.

Employment rates of ex-service personnel have risen, according to figures released by the Ministry of Defence (May 19). These reveal that 88% are either back in employment, education, or volunteer work within 6 months of transitioning back into civilian life, following support from the MOD’s Career Transition Partnership (CTP). The benefit of Kier working with organisations such as CTP, Buildforce and Project Recce is that we are creating long term sustainable career opportunities for ex-service persons within the construction industry whilst also helping the industry fill that skills gaps.

Loz Moore, from Project Recce, said: “Strategic partnerships are vital to us gaining our pathways into construction for service leavers. Working with Lara at Kier and its supply chain at Provsec and SES Engineering helps improve employer perceptions of the Armed Forces community across construction and give confidence to our candidates as they enter the industry. Continuing to support Project Recce at this unprecedent time has meant that we are able to continue with the programmes and reach an even wider audience. Their efforts are highly commendable and truly demonstrate the personal and organisational commitment to the armed forces covenant”.