Former service personnel from the British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force are receiving support to transition into new careers on HS2, Britain’s biggest build.

83 former service men and women have already moved into full-time roles on the project, with over 60 more taking up industry placements and hundreds benefiting from mentoring to support their adjustment to life outside of military service.

The scale and complexity of HS2’s construction requires a diverse workforce with a broad range of skills and talents. By teaming up with community interest company BuildForce, HS2 has opened the doors to its 350 worksites and given ex-forces personnel an opportunity to apply their transitional skills in a completely different setting.

HS2’s civils construction partners have all embraced the partnership with BuildForce, going the extra mile to provide mentors, coaching and wrap around support services to promote mental health and wellbeing.

The transitional nature of HS2’s work placement programme, as a stepping stone into employment, has to date seen candidates progress into logistics, engineering, health and safety and project management roles, with some candidates progressing into senior management positions.

HS2’s Head of Legacy, Natalie Penrose explains:

“We’re committed to supporting our ex-service men and women and value the huge contribution they are already making to the delivery of Britain’s new railway. As we begin the transition from civils to rail, more new jobs will be created at HS2 and within our supply chain, and we’re confident the ex-forces community will continue to play an important role.”

Andrew Mackinnon served in the Royal Air Force as an IT security specialist but on leaving military service, he struggled to find employment that matched his skillset. Andrew approached BuildForce for support and they referred him directly to Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV), HS2’s construction partner for the West Midlands.

Recognising Andrew’s valuable skills, the BBV team offered Andrew a paid work placement, which he began in November 2023. Now three months into his role, Andrew is a valued member of the BBV Innovation team, where he focuses on implementing new work processes and driving efficiencies across the project.

Andrew commented:

“Joining Balfour Beatty VINCI marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in my career, after leaving the Royal Air Force last year. I’m really enjoying working on this iconic infrastructure project, which I feel is the perfect platform to relaunch my career from. The transition has been made much easier thanks to the support I’ve received from Buildforce and BBV throughout this entire process.”

Speaking about the HS2 partnership, Caroline Logan, Programme Director at BuildForce said:

“The depth of the skillsets within our military community is constantly responding to the changing needs of HS2 and we look forward to the future, supporting more ex-military candidates onto the project.”

With three new world-class stations to be built, there are hundreds more career and work placement opportunities to come on HS2.

Ex-forces personnel interested in finding out more are invited to attend an exclusive project day at HS2’s giant superhub station in Old Oak Common, West London. HS2’s construction partner, Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA is hosting the event, in partnership with BuildForce, to provide a behind the scenes tour and greater understanding of the breadth of careers available.

For further information and to register for the event, which takes place on 24 April, visit

For information about careers and opportunities on HS2, visit