Letchworth MP Rt Hon Sir Oliver Heald MP visited Willmott Dixon at the start of National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) 2023 to see how the company, which is based in his constituency, was supporting construction skills across the country.
Willmott Dixon has 74 people registered for apprenticeships, where they study a range of skills including chartered surveyor, quantity surveying technician, site supervisor, business administration, data analysis and customer services. Many of them will go on to the company’s management training scheme after completing their apprenticeship.
During his visit to Willmott Dixon’s head office at the Spirella Building in Letchworth, Sir Oliver Heald MP met three apprentices to hear their stories and learn more about the company’s apprenticeship process. The apprentices he met were India Cormack, a level 4 construction site supervisor apprentice based in Barking, Shaquille Parson, a level 6 Digital and Technology Solutions Professional apprentice based in Letchworth, plus Lola Bowers, an apprentice plumber at Willmott Dixon’s sister company, Fortem.
Commenting, Sir Oliver said: "I was pleased to support National Apprenticeship Week. It was good to hear of the strong work Willmott Dixon is doing on learning and skills. I met three committed apprentices enjoying the experience and expertise they were receiving in different parts of the company and its sister company Fortem."
There are three strands to Willmott Dixon’s apprenticeship strategy. The first includes new entrants to the business, the second is upskilling existing people in their current roles and the third is establishing bespoke apprenticeship cohorts to address specific business skills gaps. One example is an apprenticeship cohort for data completed in Autumn 2022, with the company now looking to establish a second apprenticeship cohort for data.
Last year, Willmott Dixon was declared the UK’s ‘best big company to work for’ at the Best Companies awards, with chief executive Rick Willmott recognised as ‘best leader’ in a special Best Companies award.
Willmott Dixon’s focus on skill also includes being awarded gold accredited membership in The 5% Club’s 2022-23 Employer Audit Scheme. This club recognised that over five per cent of a company’s workforce are involved with apprenticeships, graduate schemes and sponsored students course placements, representing a huge investment in their growth as tomorrow’s next generation of leaders.
Now in its 16th year, National Apprenticeship Week, 6th - 12th February, is an annual celebration of apprenticeships that brings together businesses and apprentices across the country to shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses, and the wider economy.
The theme for NAW 2023 is ‘Skills for Life’, to reflect on how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career and help businesses to develop a talented workforce that is equipped with skills for the future.