New partnership between Vision West Nottinghamshire College and Building Heroes helps veterans and service leavers in the East Midlands build a new career in construction.
Building Heroes is pleased to announce a partnership with Vision West Nottinghamshire College to provide its specialist Construction Skills training in the East Midlands area.
The charity provides skills training for service leavers, veterans and their close family members, with support into employment in the building or engineering trades. Its aim is to tackle unemployment amongst those who have kept us safe by offering them a seamless transition into a new career.
To date, Building Heroes has graduated over 1,500 veterans and service leavers through the programme, offering post-course support into employment, self-employment or further training. To help with this transition, the charity works with national and local employers who are committed to supporting veterans into a new career.  The courses give learners a massive uplift in confidence and motivation, providing valuable new skills to not only launch a career in construction, but also support physical and mental rehabilitation.
During each five-week programme, learners will receive hands-on tuition in key areas of construction and safety, resulting in Level 1 Construction Skills and Level 1 Health and Safety in a Construction Environment qualifications. Trainees are also funded to take their Construction Skills Certification Scheme test to get their CSCS Card, necessary to work in any construction environment.
The college – a major local provider of post-16 education with a specialist centre serving the needs of the construction and building services industries – will deliver these accredited courses throughout the academic year, with its first Building Heroes group already in training and benefiting from the experience and knowledge of West Notts’ expert tutors.
Paul Bliss, 55, from Herefordshire, said: “I was in the army and I semi-retired three years ago after completing contract work overseas. I heard about the Building Heroes project after chatting to a friend who is planning to do a similar course in the summer. It’s been brilliant so far – I’m in the second week now and we’ve all learnt so much. I didn’t know anyone on the course, but we’ve all just clicked and made good friends.
“I think I’ll probably be looking towards bricklaying as the skill to concentrate on. In the future I’d love to put my new skills into practice and get some real experience working with more skilled tradesmen and maybe give something back to communities. I live quite close to the Buchanan Trust, which is a charity for ex-service people and their families. I wouldn’t mind doing some work for them and see if I can make a difference.”
Kiran Hullait, 23, from Leicester, was in the army and was medically discharged in March 2020. She said: “Not long after I was discharged the Covid pandemic hit so I was left wondering what I could do next. The army told me about this course, so I followed it up because I wanted to look into getting some experience in a job that was hands-on.
“On this programme we’ll get to try out a number of trades such as brickwork, carpentry and plastering as well as plumbing and painting. I think I’ll be veering towards plastering – I quite enjoy it! My house needs renovating so I might put the skills to the test at home! I’d like to find an apprenticeship next in landscape gardening or because I’ve got experience working with animals, it might be nice to put these trade skills to use in an animal park – that would be a great area to work in.”
Phil Clark, Assistant Principal of Construction and Building Services said: “We’ve welcomed our first cohort of the Building Heroes initiative to the Station Park Campus and we’ve seen a very positive start to the course. To play a part in the re-training and resettlement of current servicewomen and men is something our curriculum is very proud of, particularly as we have ex-forces personnel within our staff team.
“With a dedicated workshop and staff team in place, we fully expect the Building Heroes programme to go from strength to strength and look forward to welcoming future cohorts.”
Karen Jefford, Chief Operations Officer of Building Heroes, said: “We are thrilled to be working with the skilled staff at Vision West Notts to deliver our programme in the East Midlands. The construction industry already faces a skills shortage, and with the huge investment the government has recently made to ensure we Build Back Better, there has never been a healthier time to enter the profession.
“Working closely with national and local partners to provide work experience and job opportunities, we look forward to providing more construction pathways for those who have kept us safe.”

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