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Case study

Case study: Willmott Dixon


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Supporting sustainability and growth in the construction industry

Offering T Level industry placements has been a natural extension of Willmott Dixon’s long-established programmes to promote education and employment opportunities for young people, enhancing the life chances of 10,000 young people to date. 

A core value of “purpose beyond profit”, is at  the heart of their approach to sustainability and growth for this family-owned  construction management company with  over 3,000 employees. They are fully committed to enhancing the diversity of the  construction industry workforce. 

“Historically a lot of the drive for our business  is trying to attract that next generation,  breaking down a lot of barriers about the  perception of construction and the type of  industry that it is. Industry placements are the  right thing to do, because we are looking to  invest in the future workforce."

"For the T Level student, there is so  much potential for those young people to be your future. There is  massive potential for businesses to  find their future workforce, but it’s  about being very clear about what  your expectations are for your business."

"You start to see young people grow quite  quickly in confidence, and we’ve found that  when we’ve had them on a couple of our site  projects, that they do grow in confidence. They become more valued and more supported, and everyone then wants to almost  get involved and be a part of that journey as  well, with them.”
Natalie Sidey, Community Engagement Manager, Willmott Dixon

Industry placement students sit around a laptop at Willmott Dixon

Working in partnership with colleges across  London and the East, the company has  provided industry placements for students in  construction management. Placements are  designed collaboratively, so that they focus  on the skills that the young person needs to  develop to complete their course successfully and enter the world of work.

Students are interviewed and go through a full staff induction and risk assessment. They are line managed within the team that are hosting them. Students going on site are supervised at all times. Although supporting a student can initially be time-consuming, the company has found that assigning a “buddy” to support with day-to-day workplace issues helps to mitigate this. On-going support is provided to both the company and the student by the college.

Return on investment

Willmott Dixon is finding that industry  placements offer: 

  • the perfect opportunity to meet the future workforce and build a relationship with prospective new talent 
  • a pipeline to the company’s management trainee scheme
  • a way of showcasing the business and reaching out to talented young people in under-represented groups such as women and black minority ethnic students
  • an opportunity to demonstrate the huge variety of exciting and rewarding jobs that exist across the industry, many of which may be unknown to young people

Industry placement students in hard hats at Willmott Dixon

Strengthening supply chain talent

Supply chain partners who undertake the actual  building work are also being encouraged by  Willmott Dixon to access industry placements  as a way of securing their workers of the future.  A win-win for the company, this helps to build  sustainable supply chains across the whole  business. 

Matching students in construction trades such  as surveying with supply chain placement  opportunities has helped to identify talented  young people who have been supported to  progress to degree apprenticeships within the  partner companies. 


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