A PUSH to attract armed forces personnel to the construction industry is being made by York housebuilder Persimmon as part of the firm's growth strategy.

The Fulford-based firm has appointed a dedicated armed forces recruitment professional in the form of Tommy Watson, who joins Persimmon Homes after 26 years in the army.

Mr Watson will be responsible for recruiting service leavers into positions across North Yorkshire, East Riding and Lincolnshire.

Simon Usher, deputy managing director at Persimmon Yorkshire says the new role is part of the company’s growth strategy.

He said: "2014 has so far been an excellent year for the business with visitor levels to our sites up 10 per cent and our weekly private sales rate per site, for the first 15 weeks of 2014, 25 per cent ahead of 2013.

“To meet customer demand we need a robust recruitment programme to bring qualified people into the business.

"There is a diverse range of opportunities currently available including bricklayers, carpenters and ground workers as well as site management roles and sales positions.

“We recognise that a lot of people leaving the armed forces have transferable skills and Tommy’s job will be to introduce Persimmon to them and fill some of the vacancies we have each year.”

Born in Greenock, Mr Watson joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at the age of 18 in Edinburgh and as his career progressed to Warrant Officer Class 2, he was later stationed in Colchester, Germany, Folkstone, Northern Ireland, Canterbury and finally in Catterick where he was responsible for training all Scottish division soldiers in the British Army.

After 22 years in Infantry roles, Mr Watson worked for a further five years helping service leavers resettle back into civilian life.

Mr Watson said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for both me and the thousands of people who leave the armed forces every year.

"In my new role I will work with Persimmon West Yorkshire to seek out people who are about to leave the services and who have immediate transferrable skills."

Prior to joining Persimmon, Mr Watson worked with wounded, injured and sick personnel as a specialist employment consultant with the Recovery Career Services.