Our trainee scheme turns 40!

Head of recruitment and learning operations, Clare Francis, reflects on our management trainee programme as it hits the big 4-0…

Become a trainee and start your career of a lifetime!

The Willmott Dixon management trainee programme started back in 1979 with an intake of 20 trainees.

Fast forward 40 years and we're recruiting 50 new trainees per year to start a career that will change their lives!

Leaders of the future

Over the years our trainee programme has continually produced some of our most successful people across our business.

From senior managers to directors and even MDs; the programme gives people the chance to experience all the different aspects of construction throughout their traineeship and become well-rounded and confident leaders. Back in 1979 when the programme started, trainees were predominately recruited into build manager and quantity surveyor roles and while these still exist, the industry has diversified and we now also look for trainees to specialise in design management, planning, estimating, bid writing and digital technology - just to name a few.

"trainees are allocated a mentor and supported to study a relevant qualification"

Attracting the best

We are more than aware that we are competing for talent with numerous other industries and that negative preconceptions about the construction industry still exist - this certainly seems to be the case for school leavers and their parents! We are working hard to promote what careers in construction are really like through careers events, online campaigns and school and college visits and as we also build schools it gives us a further opportunity to engage with teachers, students and their families to bust the myths surrounding careers in construction.

"We are more than aware that we are competing for talent with numerous other industries"

For instance, there is a misconception that construction careers are low paid – not so! Most of our trainee disciplines can earn up to £90,000 pa and beyond! Another misconception is that it is all hard hats and hi-vis vests with no academic studying or qualifications - again not so.

As part of our programme trainees are allocated a mentor and supported to study a relevant qualification on a part-time basis which means they can earn whilst gaining valuable qualifications and although there are site-based roles available (which by the way can be a brilliant career choice!) there are also many other opportunities available.

A record to be proud of

We were delighted this year when the programme was awarded 12th place in The Job Crowds Top 100 Graduate employers - the highest in the construction industry, not to mention Willmott Dixon coming 4th in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For List. But there is still more work to do to ensure we are attracting the widest pool of talent to our industry.

Last year saw our first intake of trainees which had parity of genders and we are keen to encourage people from all backgrounds and educational routes to apply this year. Whether you are a graduate, school leaver, male or female, there are roles for everyone – you just need to be passionate about creating buildings that other people will love to use for many generations!

Still not convinced? Well, I encourage you to visit our early careers pages and watch our trainees talk about their roles and careers or come and spend some time with us and learn what it is like first-hand. We have 40 years of experience in developing talent through the programme and my message is open your mind to careers in construction – you may be surprised by what you find!

The Willmott Dixon Management Trainee Programme is now recruiting, click here for more information and to apply.