Willmott Dixon launches traineeship for NEET teens in Bedfordshire

by Francesca

National contractor Willmott Dixon has launched a new eight-week training programme in Bedfordshire this week alongside clients Inspired Villages and Central Bedfordshire Council, which will provide a unique learning experience to at least 10 young people – offering enhanced career prospects and a glimpse into life in the construction industry.

The traineeship, which is run in collaboration with JTL, a work-place learning provider, targets teens between the ages of 16 and 18 not in education, employment or training (NEET).

By completing the course, participants will increase their prospects of securing further education course placements, an apprenticeship or full-time employment.

The traineeship builds on Willmott Dixon’s ‘Now or Never’ 2030 sustainability strategy commitments, where ‘Building Lives’ forms one of its three key focus areas.

To begin with, the programme  takes place in the Building Lives Academy cabin at the Dunstable Integrated Health and Care Hub – a live Willmott Dixon project for Central Bedfordshire Council.

This part of the programme will focus on employability, with workshops on CV writing, interview tips and mock interviews run with the support of Inspired Villages. The group will also work towards their Health and Safety Level 1 certificate and their CSCS card, which is essential to starting a career in the construction industry. Help with functional education skills for those needing additional Maths, English or IT support will also be available.

The group will then spend two weeks on a live construction site, where they will work with Willmott Dixon’s supply chain in a trade of their choosing. This will be delivered at the multi-million-pound net-zero carbon retirement village Millfield Green in Caddington, Bedfordshire on behalf of client Inspired Villages.

Michelle Cotterill, director at Willmott Dixon, said:

“The young people will gain a positive experience in the built environment sector and develop valuable employability skills.

“We have run similar schemes across the country that have led to exciting positive outcomes for  participants. Whether this has been them having a newfound desire for further education or going on to pursue full-time careers in the construction industry.

“Millfield Green will be net-zero carbon in operation and is a fascinating site for those taking part. Sustainability is an important focus across the industry, and we are delighted to be working with Inspired Villages and Central Bedfordshire Council to provide valuable insight into the future of construction in the traineeship – particularly around raising environmental awareness and understanding.

“Social value is incredibly important to us as a business and we strive to leave a positive lasting legacy in each and every community we serve.”

The final two weeks will be spent delivering a garden makeover project for Keech Hospice in Luton. Here they will gain  valuable hands-on experience and will be joined by Bedford College carpentry and landscaping students and teachers, who are also dedicating their time to support the programme.

Lawrence Cramer, People and Culture Director at Inspired Villages, said:

“Giving back to the local communities our retirement villages are located within is a cornerstone belief at Inspired Villages so we are always careful to partner with organisations that share our values – like Willmott Dixon. We are therefore delighted to be supporting the young people on Willmott Dixon’s Traineeship Programme with workshops and welcoming them to Millfield Green, our site in Bedfordshire and the UK’s first net zero carbon regulated energy retirement village. We hope this initiative will provide valuable work experience for the participants and highlight to the industry how multiple organisations working together can have a powerful social impact.” 

Natasha Heritage, Employability Trainer Manager at JTL, added:

“JTL are really excited to be working with Willmott Dixon to run a traineeship in the Dunstable and Luton area. This will provide 16-18 year olds who are not in employment, education or training with an opportunity to gain real-life work experience on a construction site. It will also help them to gain valuable life skills to support them with their next steps, including gaining an apprenticeship, full-time work or full-time education. This is the first time we have run the programme in this area, and we are looking forward to seeing how it will positively impact upon the lives of the young people looking to gain a career in construction.”

One of the young people on the programme said:

“So far I have enjoyed the course, it has been very interesting and I am learning many new things. I am enjoying the health and safety aspects and taking my Health and Safety Test this week. I am really looking forward to starting my onsite work experience placement and learning even more about the construction industry, and I hope this opportunity will open some doors for me.”

For further information about Willmott Dixon, please visit: www.willmottdixon.co.uk

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