Willmott Dixon helps ex-offenders secure construction jobs

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building lives academy, construction industry jobs

Willmott Dixon has launched the ‘Building Lives Academy’ to help local people get the qualifications needed to secure jobs in the construction industry

Willmott Dixon has opened the Building Lives Academy adjacent to its King’s Dock car park project. Its aim is to upskill vulnerable young people, ex-offenders and individuals on licence from HMP Thorn Cross near Warrington so they can secure a career working on the region’s key building projects.

The company has partnered with the Liverpool charity, Inside Connections Support CIC, to provide training courses, classroom learning and work experience at Kings Dock car park and Liverpool John Moores University construction sites.

Those attending will gain Level 1 certificates in Construction Operations and Health and Safety at Work alongside an all-important CSCS card so they can find jobs within Liverpool’s buoyant construction industry.

The first cohort has now completed their training, with every attendee finding full-time employment either with Willmott Dixon or its supply chain.

One Building Lives Academy graduate, Matthew Lemoine, who is on probation, said: “It’s transformed my confidence. When you’re on the inside you don’t have much confidence.

“You worry about the stigma you’ll face when you leave prison and that no one will give you an opportunity. This academy is giving people a chance. It really is changing lives.”

John Burton, Inside Connections founder, added: “We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the impact already of the Building Lives Academy.

“The support we have received from Willmott Dixon and their supply chain partners has been incredible, and their desire to offer individuals a second chance is absolutely commendable.”

Purpose beyond profit scheme

The Building Lives academy is part of Willmott Dixon’s ‘purpose beyond profit’ scheme to strengthen the well-being of society. It also aims to tackle the skills shortages in the construction industry.

Anthony Dillon, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the North, said: “The construction industry has a skills shortage that will only be overcome through innovative ideas like our academy.

“You can enjoy a long and rewarding career in construction and I hope our academy will open up this opportunity for people in and around Liverpool to get the skills necessary to find a rewarding job delivering the building projects the region needs.”

Councillor Barbara Murray, cabinet member for education, skills and employment, said: “Liverpool City Council is delighted to be working with a contractor that is fully committed to tackling the skills shortage in our economy and create lifetime employment opportunities for our young people.

“They are an exemplar company and fully embrace the city council’s inclusive growth agenda – which aims to maximise Liverpool’s regeneration and the opportunities it offers to the benefit of our people.”

building lives academy, construction industry jobs
Kings Dock car park

Alongside current projects like the Kings Dock car park and a new headquarters for Merseyside Police Force, the company has also been behind many of the city’s projects including Victoria Street Car Park, Liverpool Food Hub and creating Venmore Dementia Hub, which provides 60 en-suite bedrooms for the city’s most vulnerable people.

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