Erdington MP and Labour’s shadow housing minister Jack Dromey saw at first hand the opportunities provided to local people by Willmott Dixon’s apprenticeship scheme when he visited the company’s branch on College Road.

Willmott Dixon is responsible for the repairs and maintenance of 60,000 properties for Birmingham City Council and since 2009 the company has taken on 41 apprentices, including several from Jack’s constituency. To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Jack met the company’s management team and several apprentices to talk about their training and future opportunities.

Alongside apprentices, many more young people are given a first glimpse of life in the workplace by Willmott Dixon’s ‘Opening Doors’ initiative, where they gain work experience over a number of weeks and are guaranteed an interview for an apprenticeship opportunity at the end of their placement.

Jack said, “Meeting Wilmott Dixon at their Erdington branch gave me a fascinating insight into how they are working to provide life-long skills that will help drive growth in my constituency and across Birmingham. I was impressed both by the company’s training set-up and the apprentices I met; I really liked the motivation they showed about gaining their NVQs and the career opportunities that follow.”

Pauline Chatt, operations director for Willmott Dixon in the Midlands said, “Given we have our branch in Erdington and employ many of his constituents, it was good to show Jack what we are doing to meet the skills and learning agenda. To deliver a high quality repairs service for thousands of residents you need a highly trained and motivated people, and that starts with investing in the development of people at the beginning of their career in our industry.”

Jack Dromey’s visit comes a few weeks after Willmott Dixon invested £1 million in creating a new skills academy capable of training 2,000 people a year. It is part of an approach to drive opportunity through community investment that been encapsulated in a report called Transforming Communities, which uses several Birmingham projects as examples of how companies like Willmott Dixon change and improve lives through skills investment.