The 20th cohort of military veterans has graduated from Reaseheath College’s groundbreaking property maintenance course.

The veterans have gained practical skills in bricklaying, plastering, wall tiling, decorating, joinery and plumbing leading to a Level 1 Certificate in Property Maintenance during their five week intensive course with the Nantwich college’s construction department.

If successful they are also awarded a Level 1 Award in Health and Safety which allows them to apply for their CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card, a requirement to work in the building industry.

The training is delivered in partnership with armed forces training charity Building Heroes. Reaseheath was the second college in the country to offer this course and has trained 207 veterans from a variety of military backgrounds to date.

Over 90 per cent of graduates go straight into employment, self employment or progress into further training to increase their knowledge and skills in the construction trades.

Describing the scheme as ‘very successful and extremely rewarding’, Head of Construction Andy Gould said that the graduation ceremony was a special occasion as it celebrated the success of the course’s 20th cohort and its 200th learner over three years.

He emphasised that there was high demand for skilled professionals within the construction industry and that the veterans were recognised for the skills they had already acquired through service and for their excellent attitude and commitment to work.

Royal Signals veteran Paul Bowes said: “It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of Building Heroes at Reaseheath. My maintenance skills were non existent at the start of the course but I now feel confident that I have a good base of knowledge which I can build on.

“I’d like to thank Reaseheath’s trainers for their time and dedication. It is evident from their passion that they are committed to imparting knowledge which will open doors for service leavers.”

The awards were presented by Tony Ellender, Emerging Talent Manager for major construction company Balfour Beatty, which operates an Armed Forces Covenant steering group. He confirmed that the company was committed to recruiting military veterans because it recognised that there was a synergy between both sectors, particularly in the veterans’ ability to learn skills quickly and put them into practice.

Tony said: “Balfour Beatty and other construction companies who have signed the Armed Forces Covenant are extremely positive about recruiting veterans and giving them a second career. They bring a wealth of transferable skills and programmes such as Building Heroes delivers some of the initial technical skills that will give them a head start in our industry.”

Other partner employers who attended the awards presentation were John Pike, Training Manager, and Darren Wright, Light Goods Vehicle Trainer, both from the Veterans Training Academy and Victor Morrell, Training Manager, and Keri Hughes, Quality and Performance Co-Ordinator, both from Procure Plus.

The latest graduates to receive their certificates were: David Francis (Royal Engineers); Kevin Bain (Royal Engineers); Chris Grimes (Royal Logistics Corps); Craig Harrower (Royal Military Police); Lee Beeching (Royal Navy); Kurt Lee (Royal Airforce); Dean Turner (Royal Engineers); Andy Wilczynski (Royal Logistics Corps); David Chipchase (Royal Logistics Corps); Lisa Kelly-Tonge (RAF); Neil Rice (Royal Engineers); Connor Foley (Mercian Regiment); Paul Bowes (Royal Signals); Timothy Larkin (Royal Signals).