Building Heroes - grant awarded 2018

Building Heroes veterans posing together

Building Heroes gives veterans skills in the building trades. They offer varied courses and practical experiences designed to help ex-forces personnel find work in construction once they have left the forces.

 

According to Building Heroes, there are 120,000 unemployed military veterans of working age in Britain today. The UK construction industry is facing the highest skills shortage for close to 2 decades. There is a shortage of 230,000 people in the industry. Building Heroes exists to place these willing and able veterans in employment within an industry where hard-working, able-bodied people are much needed. In 2018 Building Heroes had 213 veterans graduate from their course. In 2019 they expect 250 ex-forces personnel to graduate.

“It was a life-changing course that will affect his life and that of the family.” The family of one veteran who graduated through a course run by the charity explained the importance Building Heroes can have on veterans’ lives.

To date, 100% of the veterans who completed the course passed and graduated. 60% were offered jobs not long after graduating with the other 40% looking at self-employment or continuing to learn new skills.

As with most veterans, being able to talk openly about their experiences without judgement is a vital stepping stone to integrating back into society. Building Heroes offers veterans the opportunity to do that whilst also learning new skills that give them the opportunity to find long-term employment.

Recent Graduate G from Colchester explained the benefits Building Heroes can pass to the veterans who pass through the course: “The Building Heroes Course is a wonderful concept and I have now witnessed at first-hand how it is truly helping those who are struggling with their transition from a military career. The course not only helps at the practical level, with the development of key foundation building skills and achievement of formal qualifications but also at the phycological level, by bringing together like-minded individuals, who have shared/similar experiences, that can be related too by the rest of the group, importantly without judgement. The Building Heroes charity is truly making a positive difference in people’s lives."

The grant awarded by the Veterans’ Foundation was used to underpin the good work Building Heroes carries out. One key aspect of their support is offering veterans the opportunity to utilise a residential package, meaning that they can live on the site where their teaching takes place. This enables them to spend downtime with fellow ex-servicemen for much-needed kinsmanship.

One teacher commented: “Ex-service personnel bond much more quickly as a group when they stay as a community for the 5 week period, this I assume stems from their service life and experience. A support structure for those struggling with mental health or welfare issues forms very quickly with “veteran’s helping veterans” being a key in confidence building.”

“Guidance is shared very quickly with many learning of new opportunities to improve their wellbeing and networking. Camaraderie is always strong, but this is improved with spending more time socially together. Self-help groups are often set with stronger service personnel taking a supportive role for those in need. This has been seen to help with course completion and after-hours opportunities to improve and share knowledge as a group. I have observed Health and Safety catch up lessons, employment sharing and course assignment being delivered by those with more knowledge and confidence in “After College Clubs.”

One head of construction who helped to oversee courses for Building Heroes in Reaseheath College commented: “It never ceases to amaze me the passion, commitment and drive of the individuals. The first few days see a degree of settling in with many of the veterans low on confidence and unsure how the course was going to pan out. As the days and weeks pass by you see these individuals grow in stature and confidence as they embrace the chance to learn new skills. Many of the veterans have gone into employment or self-employment within the industry, thanks to the qualification and the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS Card). I have seen veterans and service leavers from many different backgrounds and very different places in their transition from Military life to Civvy street, from broken families and marriages, unemployment and even homelessness. not to mention being overlooked just because they are Ex-military. This wonderful charity gives them a chance at a new start to rebuild their morale, skills, confidence and self-esteem as well as hopefully find a home in the Construction family. It is an absolute pleasure to be part of the veteran’s journey and I will always be thankful and grateful to Building Heroes for giving me the opportunity to help in their tremendous work.”

The Veterans’ Lottery supports many charities that play a vital role in helping veterans get the support they need. Every person that plays our Veterans’ Lottery helps support UK forces veterans. Every penny we raise goes directly to charities through our grants. For just £10 a month you can help our veterans live better lives.

 

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