Willmott Dixon has been building schools in Croydon since 2012.

They are a visible way we are creating a better future for the borough with new primary and secondary school facilities.

What’s less visible is our work ‘behind the scenes’ to up-skill young people and improve their job prospects with initiatives that provide life-long skills.

It is part of our belief 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 New Addington to up-skill local people and give them a platform for long-term careers success.

Our new academy

The academy is at our project to build a leisure centre in New Addington. It will offer construction related training in collaboration with MRG Services, Carshalton College and Croydon Council’s job brokerage service Croydon Works.

It will allow people to learn Level 1 construction operations, practical skills training, CSCS training, Level 1 health and safety at work and employability skills.

We plan to upskill between 10-15 people every six weeks and once trained, they can apply for placements with Willmott Dixon, our supply chain partners and other construction jobs advertised through the Croydon Works employment service.

We want it to inspire young people to be the construction experts of the future.

Addressing the skills gap

This type of initiative not only gives new opportunities, it tackles the skills gap and labour shortage facing our industry. We can’t build shining new facilities people need if we don’t have the people to do it!

As our project-based academy, this is a model we can use on future projects in Croydon and beyond.

Measuring our impact

Success will be measured in ‘outcomes’ – that is the number of people who complete a course and gain a qualification that leads to a job, rather than the number of attendees.

We have planned on the Building Lives Academy providing over 100 outcomes!

It continues our investment in Croydon’s future generation of skilled people in the form of apprenticeships, work experience, community engagement and transformations.

Read about how we have been awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise in the category of Promoting Opportunity for our social value work here