Persimmon appoints Gateshead College to support its growing Combat to Construction initiative

The UK’s leading housebuilder Persimmon Homes has appointed Gateshead College to support its programme to re-train ex-military personnel for a career in the construction industry.

Gateshead College, based in Tyne and Wear, will train all of Persimmon’s Combat to Construction employees. The college will also support Persimmon with its new programme, ‘Up-skill to Construction’, which aims to be a gateway into the construction industry for those looking to change career or enhance the building skills they already possess.

Persimmon Homes has been at the forefront of the movement to use the skills of ex-forces men and women with between 12,000 and 15,000 leaving the armed services each year.

The new starters will train in bricklaying and joinery while being paid during the duration of their training period. The service leavers and up-skill trainees will also work on live housing developments across the UK eventually obtaining an NVQ Level 2 qualification at the end of their studies.

Richard Latham, Group HR director at Persimmon Homes, said: “The two courses are aimed at delivering skilled workers to Persimmon developments across the UK.

“Ex-forces personnel are bringing many benefits to Persimmon. In our experience they are well motivated, keen to learn a new trade and used to being in a learning environment. We have already seen some of our successful combat to construction trainees move beyond the building site and into site management.”

Michael Torrode, has joined the Combat to Construction programme having served for six years in the Royal Signals where he trained as a communication and electronic warfare technician.

The 29-year-old from Buckley in Flintshire said: “I saw Combat to Construction before I ended my time in the military and thought it was unique to have an opportunity beyond the age of school leavers to learn a new trade. I have friends who work in the building industry and they speak highly of it so I knew it would be something I’d be interested in.

“My aim is to master the skills I’ll acquire and get out onto the Persimmon sites where I can show people what I can do.”

Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, said: “We’re delighted to support Persimmon’s Combat to Construction and Upskill to Construction programmes.

“As well as helping ex-military personnel and other professionals forge a worthwhile career in the industry, the programmes also develop a pipeline of skilled talent that will enable Persimmon to remain competitive going forward. They are also helping the company to anticipate and address skills gaps in the workforce.

“Our productive partnership with Persimmon is a good example of how we work with employers to adapt training provision to meet their business needs. We will continue to work with the company to ensure it has access to work-ready staff with the skills and aptitudes required to grow their business.”