GMI Construction Group has signed the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) to pledge its support for those serving, or those who have previously served, in the armed forces.
The move is backed by Army veteran Karl Wilson, now a Safety, Health and Environment Advisor with GMI, who says many leave the forces lacking the necessary knowledge and contacts to make a new start in civilian life.
As well as demonstrating its intention to support the Armed Forces community, the business, one of the largest private construction companies in the North of England and the Midlands, is working towards being recognised by the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) award – which shows it provides tangible support and is open to employing veterans, reservists, cadet instructors and military spouses or partners.
Karl, from Manchester, spent a decade in the Army Air Corps where he specialised in avionics, re-arming and refuelling Apache and Lynx helicopters. As well as serving in Norway, he completed two tours of Afghanistan, and was latterly stationed in Brunei where he was a part of a helicopter-based jungle rescue team.
The 31-year-old said: “I left the Army as I wanted a new challenge but ended up taking the first job I was offered, which I didn’t enjoy. I had been an instructor in the Army and began specialising in health and safety in the construction sector and was fortunate enough to be invited for an interview by GMI.
“There are many highly trained and qualified people who leave the armed forces with little knowledge of the world outside the military and as a result some find it difficult to establish themselves in a career that’s right for them.
“In my case, it was a mixture of determination, hard work, luck and guidance that I ended up landing my ideal job, so I wholeheartedly welcome GMI’s pledge to support those in the transition to civilian life.”
That view is echoed by Chris Gibson, a Safety, Health and Environment Manager with GMI, who also served in the Army and completed tours of Bosnia and Kosovo as a Combat Medic before being stationed in Germany, Aldershot and York. On leaving the Army he worked as an Offshore Medic worldwide, including four years in Africa before becoming a construction health and safety consultant for a multi-national insurance broker.
He added “Construction offers a wide range of opportunities and a clear pathway for career progression and is perfectly suited to members of the armed forces community, who possess a wide range of transferable skills and knowledge. I applaud GMI’s commitment in signing the AFC.”
Of the six members of GMI’s SHE team, three are veterans.
Lee Powell, CEO of GMI Construction Group, said: “This is a socially responsible business, which is committed to making positive change, whether that is by supporting charities and good causes, or assisting those that have served their country.”
Earlier this year GMI joined the Northern Coalition on Skills as part of its support for the levelling up agenda and became a member of the 5% Club in recognition of its dedication to ‘learn and earn opportunities’, such as apprenticeships.