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
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
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.