A LEADING West Yorkshire house builder is to fight the construction skills shortage by hiring former military personnel.

Persimmon Homes West Yorkshire has announced a recruitment drive to hire around 500 people from the army, navy and RAF and retrain them as bricklayers and joiners. The housebuilder is working with Nordic Focus Training across its 24 regional businesses in England, Scotland and Wales.

Persimmon has local developments in Bradford and Hipperholme.

Jeff Fairburn, group chief executive, said: “We have worked hard over the course of 2014 to develop this programme to help us meet a shortage of much-needed skilled tradesmen across the UK.

“Earlier this year we appointed a dedicated ex-military resettlement specialist, Tommy Watson, to spearhead the programme and we began welcoming the first of our new employees at the start of October.

“We are already on course to bring 500 new people into the business in 2015, and if our growth continues we will repeat this in 2016.

“The new recruits are all starting on an 18-month training programme with time spent in the classroom and out on site. Our courses welcome new people every four weeks, and based on the recruits we’ve already seen we are very excited with the quality of the candidates, and some of them, I’m sure, will go on to take management positions within the business in the future.”

Persimmon employs 3,500 people across the UK. Along with trainee bricklayers and joiners, the company is also directly employing other staff with a military background in sales and management roles.

Last year Persimmon signed the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant and all new trainees will be encouraged to be reservists.

The company is to build more than 13,000 new homes this year and plans to open more developments in 2015.

Mr Fairburn added: “As a business, we appreciate how hard our team works to support our growth and deliver new homes to communities across the UK. Each year hundreds of young new apprentices and trainees join us, and I know that the latest ex-service people to join us will be welcomed by everyone.”

For more details of employment opportunities visit persimmonjobs.com and click on ‘working with us’.

All jobs for people leaving the services are listed on ‘RightJob’ and applications should be made through ctp.org.uk, searching for Persimmon.