Ex-armed forces members given route into construction with Leicestershire homebuilder

Copyright Mike Sewell 2021. David Wilson Homes have just taken on three new Trainee Asssistant managers under their Armed Forces programme. Pictured are the new emplyees outside the David Wilson Homes head office ion Coalville. (Commisioned by Mark Shepperd - Unsworth Sugden)

Coalville-based developer David Wilson Homes East Midlands has provided the foundation for a career in construction for three former members of the Armed Forces.

Toby Battison (29), Wes Norton (41) and Adam Kirby (21) have all joined the homebuilder’s growing construction team via its Armed Forces Transition Programme.

The programme provides all the training and support required to work towards becoming a qualified Assistant Site Manager in approximately 12 months. It uses skills formerly gathered in the Armed Forces which can apply to construction, making it a comfortable transition for ex-servicemen and women.

Toby, from Leicester, served in the Grenadier Guards for 13 years and has guarded Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Tower of London and Windsor Castle. He served in various countries around the world including Kenya, Canada, Denmark, Latvia and Afghanistan.

Based at David Wilson Homes’ Doveridge Park development in Derbyshire, Toby said: “The Armed Forces Transition Programme has helped to ease any worries or concerns and created a like-minded network of people who can relate to the transition from army to civilian life.

“I chose to apply because the company has great career opportunities and the variation of work will keep me busy and interested for years to come.

“I’ll enjoy the banter with the team and working towards excellence, taking the time to get things right first time.”

Another of David Wilson Homes’ new recruits is Wes, from Hinckley, who served for 22 years and was formerly a Warrant Officer Class 2 in the Coldstream Guards, having undertaken roles such as Senior Tactical Surveillance Instructor, in addition to Operations and Training Development Manager.

He’ll be based at David Wilson Homes’ development in Kibworth, and commented: “Service leavers hold many transferable skills and adaptable qualities that they can bring into construction that they have gained and many have tested both in the UK and on operational tours overseas.

“Construction management was something that was mentioned to me during my career transition workshop as part of my resettlement package.  From this, it was always something I wanted to explore more.

“The team in Kibworth are superb. They offer a wealth of knowledge and are very accommodating for a new learner.”

Also joining the leading developer is Adam, who is originally from Stamford in Lincolnshire. He was set to join the Royal Armoured Corps but suffered a broken hip during his 15-month spell in Officer Training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

After spending six months on crutches and a year in rehabilitation, Adam was given a medical discharge and joins the team at David Wilson Homes’ Fernwood Village development, close to Newark.

He said: “When I left the army, I went back to my previous job with a construction company doing preliminary works for house builders. I’d heard great things about David Wilson Homes, therefore when I found out they were hiring it was a no brainer to step up to site management.

“The programme will offer me invaluable experience and qualifications to qualify and kickstart my career. I enjoy being in a fast-paced environment onsite and ultimately building quality homes.

“Looking to the future, I’d like to progress onto the NVQ Level 6 in site supervision and ultimately run my own site.”

Now based onsite, the new starters will be monitoring health and safety in construction, auditing their developments and the day-to-day trade, whilst also focusing their attention on customer care for new residents.

Darren Langton, Construction Director at David Wilson Homes East Midlands, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Toby, Wes and Adam to our growing team and it’s great to hear our Armed Forces Transition Programme has provided them with a platform to progress the next step of their careers.”