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.


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





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

04 Jul 2014
Pete Bradbury

Pete Bradbury has been a Trustee of Building Heroes since its inception and is our former Chairman, as well as being Chairman of the board of Building Heroes Property Services. Pete previously led a successful business career having worked for several major corporations including Toshiba and Ericsson. He is a Member and former Chairman of West Sussex County Council and Chairman of the High Weald National Landscape. Originally from Lancashire, Pete has lived in Sussex since 1977 and is a semi-professional guitarist and singer.

16 Oct 2014
Debbie Porter

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.

17 Jan 2020
Cllr Lt Cdr Noël Atkins RD MCIOF

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.

27 Mar 2020
Richard H Tucker MBE
Chairman of Trustees

Having served in the RAF SNCO from 1976 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, Richard 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, AAA Caring Caretaker Ltd., 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.'

Richard is a member of the Worshipful Company of Paviors, Chair of the North East MoD Employers Recognition Scheme, Member of the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association NE, Chair of the Armed Forces Network Province of Durham and Chair of Building Heroes since January 2024.

15 May 2020
Michael John Betteridge MBE QGM

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.

09 Dec 2022
James Whitmore

James fulfils the role of Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for Building Heroes. James has been involved with property all his working life and following a main board directorship at Dorrington Plc set up his own development company in 1995, therefore has a good understanding of the construction industry and the vision of Building Heroes. He is involved in a number of businesses, trustee of two additional charities, governor of two schools, a past Master of The Worshipful Company of Grocers and a past High Sheriff of West Sussex.

05 April 2024
Jan Dale

Jan Dale brings extensive experience in residential property and land development, offering a fresh perspective to collaborations with clients and partners in the development and design industries.

Her career includes senior roles at Bellway Homes, and as Director for the North East region at national house builders Bryant Homes and Taylor Woodrow. In 2005, she founded Urban Base, which has become a leading residential estate agency in the North East, with offices in historic Durham City and on Newcastle's fashionable Quayside.

Jan manages operations from Urban Base's North East headquarters, serving clients across the UK and Europe. She is supported by a team of dynamic property experts. Her services range from market research and land appraisals to new launch management and strategic consulting, often acting as an extension of her clients' businesses. Her commitment to excellence and adaptability has earned Urban Base a high level of repeat business.

Jan is also an active board member of The Dunelm Foundation, supporting local charities in County Durham, and served on the board of Lumiere in Durham with Artichoke Art in 2023. She is deeply passionate about community engagement at all levels.

05 April 2024
Frank Dodson

After completing a regular career (24 years) with the British Army followed by twenty years in the reserves, Frank made a successful transition into the private security industry. Since leaving regular service, Frank has worked across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with experience across a wide variety of sectors, including but not limited to, Oil and Gas, High Technology and Government Service.

Frank successfully completed his MSc in Security and Risk Management with the University of Leicester in 2003, shortly before completing his service in the British Army. Frank has completed several courses for the construction industry for over the past two years, namely, a three-week property maintenance course at Aldershot ; the Building Heroes Construction Skills Course at Trowbridge and a five week Building Heroes Streetworks course at Blaydon.

01 June 2024
Jamie Gibbs

Jamie Gibbs is an accomplished leader with extensive experience in the construction and renewable energy sectors. A former Royal Marine Commando, Jamie's military background has instilled key qualities such as discipline and resilience, which he has effectively translated into his entrepreneurial ventures. He owns and operates a group of businesses specialising in commercial roofing, solar PV systems, and scaffolding, demonstrating a robust capability in managing and expanding complex operations.

In addition to his business pursuits, Jamie is deeply committed to veteran affairs, actively supporting the Royal Marines Charity and other initiatives aimed at helping veterans transition to civilian careers. He has served in various industry roles, including as the Regional Chair for the Institute of Roofing and a judge for the Roofing Apprentice of the Year competition, underlining his dedication to advancing industry standards and nurturing new talent.

Holding a law degree and pursuing a Master's in contract law, Jamie combines his industry expertise with academic prowess to support his companies and charitable engagements. His leadership continues to impact the construction and renewable energy sectors significantly.

01 June 2024
Derek Mynott

Derek is Managing Director of Mynott Bowers a quantity surveying business that provides bills of quantities support to contractors in the UK, The Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. Offices being located in the UK, Sri Lanka and Australia.

Derek is proud to worked in construction all his career having trained at Bovis Construction (LendLease). Appointed as Commercial Director at Willmott Dixon after an acquisition of a contractor in Yorkshire. He later worked as a director at the London office of a consultancy Driver Group before establishing his own business. Also previously served on the executive committee for The Builders Conference before acquistion.

Our team

Brendan Williams

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.

Harri Kallas
General Manager

Prior to joining Building Heroes, Harri worked in Business Management roles with both BT plc and Canon UK and his role with Building Heroes encompasses Finance, HR and IT.

The Royal British Legion also benefits from Harri’s skills as he combines being Secretary of the Legion in Hayes with his work at Building Heroes.

Harri is also Chairman of Hayes (Kent) Cricket Club, a keen golfer and passionate Manchester City fan.

Finlay Burchett
Business Administration Assistant

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.

Danielle Neal
Network and Volunteer Lead- South

Danielle is a certified coaching professional and brings a wealth of experience, passion, and dedication to her role. Her journey began in Building Heroes in 2020, serving as an Academy Manager in London. Danielle has successfully built comprehensive provisions from the ground up.

Danielle has naturally transitioned into her current role as the Network and Volunteer Lead of South UK. In this capacity, she oversees a dynamic team, fosters collaborative relationships with training partners and drives impactful initiatives that benefit our community.

Rachel Fianko
Head of Employment partnerships

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.

Nicola Schneider
Head of Corporate Partnerships

Nicola, now serving as the Head of Corporate Partnerships at Building Heroes, brings a wealth of experience in communications and partnership development. She transitioned from Lovell Partnerships, where she delivered stakeholder engagement, community relations, and brand development, particularly in initiatives supporting Service Family Accommodations and Lovell Legacy projects.

In her current role, Nicola leverages her extensive background to forge and enhance corporate partnerships within the construction sector and beyond. Her focus is on positioning Building Heroes as a prime charitable partner, assisting organisations in fulfilling their Social Value commitments through support of Tri-Service Military community members.

Andy Maylett
Network and Volunteer Lead - North

Andy joined the Royal Corps of Signals in 1988 & commenced training as a Telecommunications Engineer.  He served for 22 Years retiring from the military as a Regimental Sergeant Major in 2010.  During his time in service, Andy served In Germany, Cyprus, UK and on numerous Operational Tours including Iraq, Afghanistan, Falkland Islands & Northern Ireland.  Whilst serving in NI as the Rigging Sergeant with 39th Infantry Brigade, he was awarded the Queens Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS) in 1999.  

After leaving the military, Andy worked in the Telecoms Sector,  initially self-employed overseas in Malaysia & finally in the UK culminating as the Head of Network Build for GB for a large Alternative Network provider. Andy joined the Building Heroes team in August 2023 and has recently taken on the role of Network & Volunteer Lead for North, UK.

Helen Faulding
Centre Coordinator - Gateshead

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 joining Building Heroes Helen worked for a large building company dealing with customers, employees and subcontractors.

Helen is the Centre Coordinator for our Groundworks & Street Works course and our Green Retrofit Skills course in the North East.

Shamila Aslam
Centre Coordinator, DARLINGTON

Shamila has a background in education working for various organisations. She has a wide range of experience working with different client groups, employment, and recruitment. She is a committed individual who is always looking for positive outcome with those she works with.

Shamila is the Centre Coordinator for our Darlington College training programme.

Jason Renshaw
Centre Coordinator, Reaseheath

Jason joined Building Heroes at the beginning of September 2022. Prior to taking up this appointment he had a very successful career within the British Army between 1985 – 2022 (Private soldier to Major). During his 37 years’ service he has deployed on multiple operational tours including Iraq and Afghanistan and has a wealth of experience in Facilities Management, Logistics and Human Resources.

 Jason completed the construction multi-skills course in July 2022 as part of his transition from the military into the civilian sector. As such, he has first-hand experience of what the course offers and the benefit of equipping individuals with a broad range of trade skills and then connecting them with a network of employers.

Jason is the Centre Coordinator for our Reaseheath College training programme.

Megan Rees
Centre Coordinator, Cardiff

Megan comes from a recruitment background, having worked in the care and legal sectors for the past three years. Megan joined Building Heroes in September 2023, bringing her transferable skills of being able to offer extensive employment support to our learners, as well as, use her care connections to provide welfare support.

Megan is new to the construction and military sectors but looks forward to the rewarding work of helping service leavers and veterans transition into successful civilian lives. Megan recognises that working at Building Heroes will provide a new perspective on the Armed Forces and those effected by service - both those who serve and their families.

Megan is Centre Coordinator for our Cardiff training programme.

Clare Guest
Academy Lead - 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.

Clare leads our Skills Academy in partnership with Vistry Group in Coggeshall, Essex

Steve Ricketts
Academy Lead - 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 studied at The University of Plymouth, completing his undergraduate and 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.  

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 leads our Plymouth Centre in the South West.

Philip Hay
Academy Lead - Ibstock

Phil joined the Building Heroes Team on 22 May 23 after serving over 38 years in the British Army. He joined the Royal Corps of Signals at the age of 16 as a Junior Soldier in 1984 serving around the world before retiring from regular service in Oct 22 as a Lieutenant Colonel after working in Army Headquarters in a Capability and Acquisition role.

A very experienced logistician with a wealth of knowledge in Facilities, Transport and Project Management. Prior to retirement and during transition form the Army to the civilian sector he attended the Construction Multi-Skills course in Jul 22 at Reaseheath College.

Phil leads our Skills Academy in partnership with Davidsons Homes in Ibstock, Leicestershire.

Billy Tainton
Academy Lead - Basingstoke and Salisbury

Billy joined Building Heroes in February 2024. With a distinguished military career spanning 26 years, he retired in 2023 as a Quarter Master Sergeant Instructor in the SASC. Billy's extensive experience includes training, mentoring, and coaching, focusing on helping individuals realise their full potential. He has had the privilege to work with every level of new entrant as a Section Commander at Pirbright all the way to Sandhurst with Officer Cadets at Sandhurst’s Dismounted Close Combat Wing, as well as those upskilling through career courses at the Infantry Battle School.

Motivated by the commitment of Building Heroes to support Veterans and Service Leavers, Billy brings his depth of expertise to enhance the support and guidance Building Heroes offer during the transition of service members into civilian employment.

Billy is Academy Lead for our Basingstoke and Salisbury Academies, delivered in partnership with Vistry Group.

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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