About us

The Building Heroes team

Building Heroes learning carpentry in a workshop.

Our story

Established in 2014, Building Heroes is dedicated to service leavers, veterans, reservists and military families. We provide training and employment support into a new career in construction by equipping individuals with a broad range of trade skills and then connecting them with a network of employers.

Recruit.
Reskill.
Redeploy.

Our mission

We join forces together - Armed Forces leavers, the education sector and the construction industry - benefiting all concerned. We are the gateway to second careers in construction for service leavers, veterans and their families. We remove the barriers of time, and money and provide welfare support and training leading to national job opportunities.

Our values

Collaboration

Excellence

Respect

Commitment

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Award-winning work

We are proud to be recognised for the exceptionally hard work that the Building Heroes team put in every day, helping to recruit, reskill and redeploy those who have kept us safe.

Our trustees

Appointed
04 Jul 2014
Pete Bradbury
Chairman of Trustees

Pete previously led a successful business career having worked for several major corporations. He is the District and County Councillor for Cuckfield, currently Chairman of West Sussex County Council, Vice-Chairman of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Originally from Lancashire, Pete has lived in Sussex since 1977.

Appointed
04 Jul 2014
The Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames
Building Heroes President

Sir Arthur Nicholas Winston Soames, sometimes known as Nick Soames, is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex since 1997. He is a grandson of Winston Churchill.

Appointed
16 Oct 2014
Debbie Porter
Trustee

Debbie Porter was a troop leader at Bristol Officer Training Corps whilst at University and from there joined the Army as a Movement Control Officer in the Royal Corps of Transport. During her Army career she served in the UK, Germany, Falklands and Cyprus. Since leaving she has worked with Nissan and then PriceWaterhouseCoopers for 22 years.

Appointed
03 Aug 2018
Andrew Foster
Trustee

Andrew joined the Army in 1974 as a recruit at  Pirbright, Surrey. Andrew completed Officer Training at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, he then commissioned in the Scots Guards in March 1976. His final appointment as a serving officer was as Head of the MOD’s Foreign Liaison Staff in London charged with a small team for assisting the 250 or more Foreign Service Attaches accredited to the UK.

Appointed
17 Jan 2020
Cllr Lt Cdr Noël Atkins RD MCIOF
Trustee

Noel qualified in the Royal Navy as: Watchkeeping Officer, Navigation Officer, Torpedo and Anti-Submarine Officer, Diving Instructor Officer, Communications Officer, Gunnery Officer, NBCD (Nuclear Biological Chemical and Damage Control) Warfare Officer.

Noel continues his association with the Royal Navy as chairman of the Worthing Royal Naval Association looking after the welfare of local veterans and widows.

Noel is pleased to serve as a trustee of Building Heroes both the Education Foundation and Property Services.

Appointed
27 Mar 2020
Richard Hamlyn Tucker MBE
Trustee

Serving across theaters from Northern Ireland, Sardinia, Cyprus, Gibraltar and Germany, including specialist tours such as “Brixmis” and being part of the forward operating team for the 1st Gulf war, I left the RAF in 1996 under Options for Change, leaving with an MBA gained through the RAF “distant learning scheme”.

In November 2006, I achieved a desire to purchase a couple of property portfolios and set up my own Property Company which is still running today. With the need to maintain our growing portfolio, we established in 2015 Caring Caretaker as a Property and Maintenance Company which todays employs 41 personnel of which 17 are ex veterans 3 are service dependents.

Appointed
15 May 2020
Michael John Betteridge MBE QGM
Trustee

Mick joined the Royal Marines in 1985 and served for 23 years. Mick had a very successful career between 1989 – 2008 and saw operational deployments globally including Gulf War 1 and Sierra Leone. He was awarded the Queens Gallantry Medal in 1995 and made an MBE in 2000. Mick retired from the Royal Marines in 2008.

Our team

Brendan Williams
Chief Executive

After 25 years of Brendan working at leading Global Investment Banks, working in Operations and Technology and as a Chief Operating Officer, it was time to give something else a go. Born into a long line of specialist master bricklayers, the opportunity to help start Building Heroes was too difficult to pass up. Being Chief Executive draws on all his cross disciplinary experience and brings more rewards than banking ever could. You only have to be told once that you have changed a life for the better to know all the hard work is worthwhile.

Karen Jefford
Chief Operating Officer

Karen has over 30 years’ experience working in business, education and volunteer sector, leading the operations of a diverse range of contracts.

Karen is also a registered career development practitioner offering a unique combination of experience acquired in her early career in events, media and marketing, before transitioning into contract management within the education sector.

Eddie O'Brien
General Manager

Eddie has 43 years experience of working in local government gaining experience in Finance, Payroll, Housing and IT before taking on the role of general manager at Building Heroes. Eddie joined Building Heroes to enable him to share his skills, delivered on a vast range of duties and tight deadlines that have to be met. Eddie thrives on supporting his colleagues and helping Building Heroes to achieve its full potential.

Melanie Butcher
Contracts

Mel is a freelance Education & Skills Consultant with over 20 years’ experience working in the education and skills sector. She has gained excellent knowledge regarding local skill priorities, employer’s skill and training needs including Apprenticeships alongside adult skills and community learning. Mel is a Consultant Member of the Sussex Council of Training Providers and FE Associates. She is committed to lifelong learning and since leaving full-time education she has gone on to achieve a BA Hons Degree, various other qualifications and is currently studying for a teaching qualification.

Finlay Burchett
Business Administration Apprentice

Finlay has a quiet, thoughtful personality and focuses on making sure that any task he is put to work on is completed quickly but to a high standard. Currently he is working as a Business Administration Assistant to improve his office skills and assist the charity in maintaining their standards of service delivery.

Rachel Fianko
Recruitment Services

Rachel is a military wife and brings a wealth of experience after spending eight years in IT training, travelling across the UK working with the Ministry of Defence, Government organisations, security and aerospace sectors and the NHS. As a university graduate, she began her career as a Recruitment Consultant recruiting teachers and support staff in the education sector and is now supporting our learners into employment outcomes within the construction industry.

Duncan Attwell
Head of Stakeholder Engagement

Duncan joined Building Heroes at the beginning of June 2022 as Head of Stakeholder Engagement, part of the Senior Management Team, having left fulltime service with the British Army in April. An important part of Duncan’s Building Heroes portfolio will be to develop the successful expansion of the On Site Academy model with Construction Industry partners, training Service leavers in construction skills and into a second career in the industry.

Prior to joining Building Heroes Duncan was Head of Engagement for the Army in the South West and Channel Islands, conducting Youth, Civil and Employer Engagement to connect the Army with society in order help with recruitment and to maintain the Army’s reputation. During this three year posing Duncan and the his Engagement Team, understanding the important outcomes, supported a number of Building Heroes Graduations events held by Wiltshire College & University Centre.

In an earlier posting he was head of the Family Support Team for the Army overseeing the delivery of the National Housing Prime Contract between The Defence Infrastructure Organisation and its main contractor Amey, for the allocation and maintenance of some 55,000 Service Family Homes.

He has served on operations in Sudan & Darfur, in Military Intelligence and in Afghanistan with the US Marine Corps working on Stabilisation Operations.

Prior to becoming full time with the Army in 2012 Duncan was an Army Reservist training on the Challenger II Main Battle Tank, at that time his ‘dayjob’ was in construction project management delivering energy efficient timber frame buildings to housing associations and private clients.

Glynis Argue
Lead Centre Co-Ordinator

Glynis worked at Essex County Council for 27 years. She began as a Divisional Administrator where she assisted with the management of the County’s first Essex Enterprise Centre. During her last seven years with the Council she managed and developed various Apprenticeship programmes. She has been an active partner in a Construction company which has given her transferable skills to support Building Heroes.

Clare Guest
Centre Coordinator - Essex

Clare has been a military wife for almost 20 years now, experiencing the highs and the lows that come with military life. She previously worked for a military charity within their Health and Wellbeing Team. Prior to this, she has 22 years experience in customer focused roles. As a member of the military community she has experience to help tackle unemployment and support to transition into a new career.

Helen Faulding
Centre Coordinator - Blaydon

Helen has a wealth of construction, recruitment and IAG experience. She worked for 10 years with a large training provider offering construction skills and qualifications to unemployed 16-18 year olds and 19+.  Previous to this she worked for a large building company dealing with customers, employees and subcontractors.

Denise Davis
Assessor/Trainer & IQA

Denise’s career in education spans 20+ years, from working behind the scenes in administration and funding, to line managing teams of specialist Trainers, Assessors and Internal Quality Assurers across pan sector occupations.  In recent years she has key-managed Apprenticeship accounts, creating and delivering customised learning programmes for several NHS Trusts across the south coast. Denise likes challenging the learners’ mindsets, helping them nurture the impossible into something possible.  She has enabled learners to reach for the stars who have gone on to set up their own dream business.  Denise is passionate about enriching the learning experience and actively seeks stakeholder feedback to customise accessible learning programmes for sustainable intrapreneurial or entrepreneurial opportunities.

Danielle Neal
Centre Coordinator - London

Danielle has a vast array of experience within recruitment and progression in sectors such as manufacturing, care and voluntary services. She is fueled by her passion for helping others and is well versed in supporting learners and aiding them in finding suitable employment opportunities. She has previously led projects which have enabled learners to achieve their career goals whilst maintaining that all-important work-life balance.

John Middleton
Centre Co-ordinator - East Midlands

John joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1981, he served around the globe. After leaving the Army in 2004, John joined Defence Medical Welfare Service as a Welfare Officer, this included deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and finally as Welfare Officer at the Personnel Recovery Unit (PRU) in Germany. In his service career John worked with the RAF, Royal Navy, Royal Marines, US Navy, and US Marine Corps. John has a wealth of knowledge regarding service life, transition to civilian life and the challenges. He is educationally qualified with a Diploma in Welfare Studies, Diploma in Person Centre Counselling, Mental Health First Aid, and Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults.

Steve Ricketts
Centre Coordinator - Sherford

Steve is currently the Sherford Skills & Training Coordinator in Plymouth at the biggest onsite training centre in the country where he has been part of two successful CITB bid submissions that have secured 6 years of funding for training at the Skills Centre. Steve was born in Portsmouth but left for Plymouth to study at The University of Plymouth in 1998. Between 1998 and 2005 he studied for an undergraduate, then a postgraduate degree at Plymouth University. During this period, he was elected as President of the Student Union, and became actively involved in politics. In 2006 he was successfully elected to Plymouth City Council holding various Cabinet posts such as Transport & Housing Delivery until 2018.   Steve has worked in ‘Welfare to Work’ for many years and in Plymouth‘s Drug and Rehab Centre. He also worked on the Erasmus programme helping EU students find high quality work placements in Plymouth while serving as an Army Reservist with Six Rifles.  Apart from a short spell in East London, working in one of the most deprived areas in the UK, helping long-term unemployed people into work he has lived in Plymouth ever since.  Steve manages our Plymouth Centre in the South West.

Greg Jeffrey
On-Site Academy Lead – Swindon & Wiltshire

Greg has 16 years of Military and Private Security experience. He then moved into the construction industry where he became a qualified bricklayer within a national housebuilding company. Greg than moved on and progressed in his career and became an Operations Director. His skills and knowledge of the construction industry, project management, professional development, strategic implementation, and company collaboration, coupled with his passion to provide support and help to the Military community, are well aligned to help Building Heroes reach its maximum potential as an organisation.

Stacey Hall
Centre Coordinator - Melksham

I'm a forces child, lived overseas and UK throughout my childhood, still have family members serving. 

I'm outgoing and approachable. Having spent many years working for the MOD in various positions, stores, welfare, education, army primary health care, accounts. I have a good understanding of military structures and the life culture of serving.

Lin Stockwell
Building Heroes Ambassador

Lin is a Councillor in Mid Sussex District Council representing High Weald Ward. She is currently a member of the scrutiny committees for Audit, Leader & Service Delivery and Planning & Economic Development. She also represents the District Council as Champion for the Armed Forces Covenant. Before retiring in 2012 Lin worked for Lloyds Banking Group, initially as a Customer Service Manager, then in Credit Risk Finance as an analyst and business support manager.

Stuart Cunane
Building Heroes Ambassador

I left the Army in 2020 during the start of the COVID pandemic. I had served with the Royal Engineers for over 38 years and was ready for a new challenge in life. Building Heroes - Property Maintenance Course was an ideal fit for my resettlement, my background in construction engineering had given mea basis to start my own handyman services and this course was an ideal foot on the ladder.

I was really impressed with the professionalism of the trade instructors - given the diversity, individuals skill levels on the course, their knowledge of their trade shone through. On completion of my training, I had the confidence and skills to refit my bathroom. I dipped my toe into the handyman business but due to family commitments this is now on the back burner.

I was so impressed with the Building Heroes ethos and commitment to helping ex-servicemen and women that I am now a volunteer working alongside the area co-ordinate, assisting with presentations and fund raising for this great charity.

Our expertise

Recruit, Reskill, Redeploy with fully-funded training and full support during and post course.

Our team draws on a wealth of experience to support individuals and companies looking for exceptional talent.

  • Supporting military service leavers, veterans, reservists and their families
  • Working with under-represented groups
  • Support throughout and after your course
  • Teaching employability and essential digital skills
  • Personalised support to fit your needs
  • Construction training with expert instructors
  • Employment after your course
  • Self Employment after your course
  • Further Training after your course
A male and female builder on site working together on a laptop.

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A Building Hero working as an electrician.