Birmingham apprentices begin training at 4Life Academy

New start for intake.

Seven new apprentices from Birmingham have marked the beginning of their training programme at Willmott Dixon Partnerships’ 4Life Academy in Aston.

They are part of a team of sixteen trainees from across the UK who are the first Willmott Dixon apprentices to use the £1m academy, the hub for their training as part of the company’s new Skills 4 Life apprenticeship programme. They will be studying a variety of construction trades ranging from bricklaying, plumbing, and carpentry to electrical compliance, as they work towards a recognised NVQ qualification that will pave the way for a career in the construction industry.

During their induction the apprentices, aged between 18 and 38, took part in health and safety workshops, scaffolding building exercises and team competitions. They also received a talk from volunteers at Dekamile, one of Willmott Dixon’s sponsored charities that helps provide clean water, sanitation and improved infrastructure in Togo, Africa.

Former baker Chris Rowland, aged 38, from Shard End in Birmingham, is doing a carpentry apprenticeship with Willmott Dixon. He said: “I studied carpentry briefly when I first left school at and have always wanted to get back in to it. This apprenticeship is the perfect opportunity for me to completely change my career path and earn qualifications that will hopefully provide me with a trade for the rest of my working life.”

Willmott Dixon’s Head of Customer Service and Training, Huw Evans, said the compamy are excited to welcome their first intake of apprentices, addinging “By using the centre as a hub for our apprenticeship training we want to bring all our trainees together under the new Skills 4 Life model, to make the most of the excellent facilities available here in Birmingham.

He added, “We want to create a sense of pride and camaraderie among all our apprentices. The new Skills 4 Life scheme focuses on personal development alongside professional development, through community engagement activities and charitable fundraising. It is an innovative approach to apprenticeship training and embodies Willmott Dixon’s ethos of giving something back to the local community.”

Willmott Dixon Partnerships managing director, Mick Williamson emphasied the company’s commitment to education, “Our staff are encouraged to undertake continuous development, for the success of our business and ultimately the organisations we are working with. Of our 1600 staff, 164 of those not in apprenticeships are currently studying for an NVQ – which speaks volumes for the training investment we make in our staff. We believe that our apprentices are the greatest ambassadors for our company and will help support and grow the business in the future.”

The Willmott Dixon 4Life Academy is a £1m investment in Birmingham by Willmott Dixon to provide training and lifelongskills to 2,000 people a year. It is a national centre of excellence for the company and provides training for people and businesses in the wider community. It has also been approved as a training centre for City & Guilds and the British Plumbing Employers Council. Since opening in February 2013 the 4Life Academy has created 12 full time jobs and employed 45 part time instructors. It has already trained over 1,000 candidates across the West Midlands.