Drive by Persimmon Homes could bring ex-soldiers into building trade in East Anglia

06:30 14 May 2014

From left, Tommy Watson with Richard Latham, HR director for Persimmon Homes.

From left, Tommy Watson with Richard Latham, HR director for Persimmon Homes.


More than 1000 ex-service personnel are being tempted to become part of the housing industry thanks to a scheme by the region’s leading housebuilder.

Generic construction work.Generic construction work.

Around 50 of those are likely to be undertaking a number of roles across East Anglia as part of the recruitment drive by Persimmon Homes. The firm has appointed Tommy Watson – an army veteran of 26 years – to help hire leavers across the country following the successful transition of former armed forces members in the north and north-east region.

Bosses are confident that the trial will work just as well in Norfolk and Suffolk in the near future when it is rolled out nationally.

Andrew Fuller, Persimmon’s Anglia managing director, said: “We are expanding and we need some more assistance. Ex-servicemen have worked well in other regions and Tommy will have the inside track on these people.

“They know all about team-work, strength work, working in an outside environment and probably don’t relish sitting in an office or a factory. They have a set of skills that are transferable. Many are physically fit, by the very nature of their jobs, and that’s a good trait to have for most positions in the construction industry.”

Generic construction work.Generic construction work.

The firm is currently working on about 15 active sites in the region. Mr Watson, who will visit East Anglia’s head office in Lowestoft as part of his role, will also oversee Persimmon’s planned growth in its 23 other regional divisions across the UK.

Persimmon is looking for sub-contractors, bricklayers, carpenters, groundworkers, trainee site managers and forklift drivers, among a number of roles. They will also take on six more apprentices in September.

With a total of 33,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen being cut from the armed forces by 2020 there is a clear market to be tapped into.

Mr Watson, who joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at the age of 18, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for me and the thousands of people who leave the armed forces every year.”

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