Willmott Dixon Interiors launches Construction Skills Academy

6 July 2021
EMD Cinema

The very first pop up construction skills academy ‘Building Lives Academy’ has been launched by Willmott Dixon Interiors to help connect local people with jobs in Waltham Forest.

It comes as recent resident figures in Waltham Forest show that 10% of the borough of the working age population are claiming Universal Credit, which is higher than the London wide average of 8%, with a third of the borough accessing employment support.

Interior fit-out and refurbishment specialists of the project Willmott Dixon Interiors, in partnership with PAS Direct, a specialist training provider for the construction industry launched the ‘Building Lives Academy’ to help jobseekers in the area find their way back into work. Participants in the Academy hailed from a variety of backgrounds in construction, hospitality, accounting and finances.

The Building Lives Academy has produced:

  • Two sessions which has supported sixteen long term NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) or unemployed individuals into employment, education or training
  • Seven individuals have confirmed employment outcomes out of sixteen
  • Out of the seven confirmed employments, two participants had been unemployed for more than three years prior to joining the Academy

Creating jobs for local people 

The investment into the former Granada/EMD revival is part of the Council’s London Borough of Culture 2019 legacy commitment to place culture at the heart of its communities. The venue will help boost the local evening and night-time economy with an estimate £34-52m injection over the next decade, support existing businesses and residents as well as create jobs for local people.

By completing their courses at the Academy, participants gained qualifications in Health and Safety in Construction and NOCN Level 1 which enables jobseekers to successfully apply for their CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card. With a Level 1 qualification remaining permanently on your record, future CSCS cards do not need the participant to carry out any further H&S training. 

Local Waltham Forest participant Andrea Armstrong, said “The course has taught me so much, such as manual handling and health and safety, along with other useful things which will apply to my daily life and also my safety working on sites and other places. This course was very informative and the handouts make the course more appealing. I would definitely recommend this course to others.”

Willmott Dixon site teams proudly showcased the various careers in construction with a Site Visit and Routes into Construction. Mike Devaney, Construction Manager at Willmott Dixon Interiors and Jake Robbins, Assistant Project Surveyor at Willmott Dixon Interiors were on hand on both sites to help inspire students. 

Local Waltham Forest resident, Kye Mitchell secured work with the former Granada/EMD project team and was recognised by the Willmott Dixon site team as a Covid Champion for the work he was doing to keep the former site Covid-safe. He became known to Willmott Dixon through a coincidental interaction with a local resident who was running a local garden project. The project ran throughout the pandemic supporting local residents with mental health and isolation challenges and bought Willmott Dixon to Kye’s attention. With the support of construction recruitment company Falcon Green and Willmott Dixon Interiors project team based at the former Granada/EMD, Kye Mitchell was able to secure work.

Cultural identity in the heart of Walthamstow

Mike Devaney, Construction Manager at Willmott Dixon Interiors said:

“Willmott Dixon Interiors is proud to be part of the London Borough of Waltham Forest council’s regeneration strategy which will realise their vision to transform the Former Granada / EMD into a vibrant and creative venue with its own cultural identity in the heart of Walthamstow.

The project also allows us to build a legacy for the local community and to up-skill young people and improve their job prospects with initiatives that provide life-long skills. We recently invited visitors associated with the PAS direct building lives initiative to support our Careers in Construction week where we gave a comprehensive review of the project and site tour.

It is part of our belief that we have a purpose beyond profit - that the energy, passion and commitment of our people can strengthen the well-being of society beyond the buildings we create.

That’s why we have created a Building Lives Academy in Walthamstow to up-skill local people and give them a platform for long-term careers success.”

Connecting People with Jobs

Councillor Simon Miller, Member for Economic Growth and Housing Development said:

“I am delighted to see that the Building Lives Academy is supporting the creation of local jobs. Connecting People with Jobs is one of the four immediate priorities set out within our Public Service Strategy and we are determined more than ever to work with our partners to ensure we are providing training, upskilling opportunities and securing local jobs for local people.”

More information

For more information: www.willmottdixoninteriors.co.uk

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