Costain Supports The Royal British Legion Mentoring Scheme

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8 December 2015

Costain staff in Wales have signed up to an online Mentoring Scheme, which helps Armed Forces personnel launch a new career in the construction and engineering industry after they leave active service.

The scheme is being piloted by The Royal British Legion across the UK and has the full backing of ICE Wales Cymru. The pilot is targeting the construction and property sectors, but if it’s successful after a nine-month period it will be expanded to include other industries. Costain is looking for volunteers from across the Group at all levels of the business to act as mentors.

If you’re still in military service, the opportunities to establish a network are limited or non-existent, but the Mentoring Scheme enables Service leavers to gain experience in how to develop and use contacts through participation in mentoring activities.

Mentees connect with a mentor with a view to building a partnership that will help them develop their career choices, understand their options, avoid mistakes and build self-confidence as they prepare to communicate with potential employers. Service personnel and veterans can connect with a friendly face in the industry, build relationships and share advice and feedback over an agreed period via email, phone, social media and face-to-face.

The scheme features a web-based portal, which provides Service leavers the opportunity to match themselves with a mentor that they feel best fits their growth and learning requirements.

Currently over 20,000 Service men and women leave the Armed Forces each year, with around 20% expressing an interest in the construction industry. With so many Service personnel engaged in technical work, often under considerable pressure, the potential to use that expertise to plug the skills gap in the UK construction industry is huge.

“Services personnel have a solid work ethic and possess specific skills across a range of planning, logistics, engineering management and project management so they’re a good match for the construction skills that we so desperately need,” said Phil Whitney, a Senior Planning Manager on the M4 Corridor Around Newport who was one of the first to volunteer for the scheme.

Phil is also an ICE Wales Cymru Committee Member, but that isn’t why he signed up.

Phil added: “I have always had a strong belief in mentoring and investing the time in people to achieve professional development and improving job skills and competencies, so it was an easy decision to sign up for this scheme. I am also indebted to those who have pursued a Forces career and if I can help even just a handful into employment within the construction industry then it will be worthwhile.”

Andrea Green is the Legacy Lead on the M4 Corridor Around Newport Project. Her father was in the RAF and she knows how difficult it is to change career and make the transition to ‘Civvy Street’.

“I remember quite clearly what a big transition it was when he left to join ‘Civvy Street’. It affected all of us and Mum was a huge support to him writing his CVs and helping with application letters. He found a great job and had another successful career but the Legion knows it doesn’t always work out like that, so I’m happy to help out in this small way,” said Andrea.

Keith Jones, Director, ICE Wales Cymru, added: “It is an honour for us to be involved and I am delighted that we have been invited to pilot this wonderful mentoring project with The Royal British Legion. As a Chartered Civil Engineer, I have registered as a Mentor and have encouraged ICE Wales Cymru members to do so as well. This is a great opportunity not only to help and assist in addressing the potential skills shortage but to give something back to those who were, and are, there for all of us.”

Ian Hunter, Programme Manager at the Legion, said: “Costain’s support as one of the UK’s top engineering solutions providers is highly appreciated. These partnerships are starting to play an important part in veterans’ employment transition and providing opportunities for ex-Service personnel to tap into the hidden job market that accounts for some 70% of all vacancies. It’s already evident that staff volunteering as mentors are enjoying the challenge of guiding others into a successful new career.”

For more information and to participate in the Mentoring Scheme, please email the Legion at


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