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Contractor launches traineeship programme

Willmott Dixon has launched a new traineeship programme in Sandwell, Birmingham, to help kick start the careers of budding construction professionals in the local area.

The programme, which aims to support Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s initiatives to tackle youth unemployment across the district, will be run through JTL in partnership with the council’s Think Sandwell team. 

The traineeship will comprise a 10-week programme for 11 NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18 that live within Sandwell and the surrounding area.

Michelle Cotterill, operations director at Willmott Dixon, said: “We’re very excited about the launch of this programme and look forward to seeing how the participants progress over the coming weeks.

"Not only are we helping to support Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council in its mission to overcome youth unemployment, but we are also helping NEET teenagers to kickstart their careers in construction – upskilling future generations and investing in the future of the industry.

“Many of the participants have lived in, or still live in care, so we’re incredibly happy that we’ve been able to offer them this opportunity and support as they start to embark on their journey towards adulthood and independence.”

The first five weeks of the programme will focus on employability, with CV writing workshops, interview skills/technique sessions and mock interviews. The group will also be working towards their Health and Safety Level 2 certificates, which will help them to later secure their CSS cards. As well as being offered functional skills education for those needing additional Maths, English or IT support.

The programme runs alongside Willmott Dixon’s £23.8 million development of three existing schools in Sandwell, which – once complete – will accommodate an additional 990 school places in the region as part of the council’s Schools Capital Programme 2019-2021.

Michelle said: “Leaving a lasting legacy in the communities we work within is an essential part of Willmott Dixon’s company ethos and Sandwell is a great example of this. While working in the local area, we’ve been able to provide both educational facilities and programmes to better the lives of students and support young people into employment.”

The following four weeks of the course will provide students with work experience on one of Willmott Dixon’s four live sites across Sandwell – including one of three schools or their current integrated health care project. The students will work with the contractor’s supply chain partners, in a trade of their choosing, with the end goal of securing further education, an apprenticeship or employment.

George (aged 16) who is taking part in the programme, said: “I wanted to do this course as a route into construction, getting some hands-on experience, and to get the qualifications at the end.”

The final week of the programme focuses on the next steps, where Willmott Dixon’s social value team will support the students to apply for further education, training or employment based on the achievements and qualifications they have gained following completion of the traineeship.

Michelle Cree, employability manager at JTL Training, said: “JTL is pleased to be working alongside Willmott Dixon to offer learners worthwhile and varied work experience on site whilst completing their traineeship. This provides the students with great insight into a range of roles within the construction industry and the skills used, whilst also allowing them to put their new health and safety knowledge to test in a real-life environment.

“Willmott Dixon has spoken to each of the participants to ensure that they are matched with the most suitable site and tasks to enable the learners to progress in the field they are interested in.This is a great opportunity for local learners to develop skills that may help them into employment or further education.”

The programme is running through to July and a ceremony will be held once it completes to celebrate each participant’s achievements throughout the scheme.

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