Willmott Dixon is aiming to surpass the £1.1 million it invested in community projects last year as it launched its ‘Investing 4Life’ Foundation Review.

The Review details how the £1.1 million was spent in 2012, including 30,000 hours of staff time given to community projects to improve local facilities, managing a scheme providing nearly 150 weeks of work experience and employing 61 apprentices to study NVQ courses. This combined investment equated to 7.2% of Willmott Dixon’s company’s pre-tax profit in 2012.

Group Chief Executive Rick Willmott says, “We believe companies like Willmott Dixon have an important part to play in providing meaningful social and economic benefits over and above what’s expected in the services we deliver.

“That’s why we’ll increase our community investment in 2013 beyond the £1.1 million we achieved in 2012 by expanding work experience programmes like Opening Doors, where we hope give nearly 200 work experience placements this year, and creating new alliances with organisations that can assist our ambition to tackle social exclusion and create positive legacies.”

Rick continues, “The outputs of our work aren’t only measured in financial terms. The value of social investment is legacy; our apprentices learning lifelong skills, day trips organised as part of national Play Day activities to give some young people their first experience of the seaside; the Construction Ambassadors’ scheme, which has inspired a number of people to work in our industry. These are just some of our programmes to deliver positive benefits to wider society.”

Opening Doors is a successful initiative to provide a gateway to full-time work and construction for hundreds of people, with Willmott Dixon working with schools, colleges and employment partners to create work experience placements. Last year saw over 150 people benefit from a total of 25,000 hours of work experience, with £120,000 of company time invested to administer Opening Doors and mentor the candidates, who automatically get apprenticeship interviews on completion.

Earlier this year Willmott Dixon committed £1 million to create the 4Life Academy in Birmingham, which has already trained 1,000 people since being launched in February. Chris Durkin, divisional chief executive, Support Services, and chairman of the Willmott Dixon Foundation, says: “The academy shows our seriousness about supporting construction skills at perhaps one of the toughest periods ever for our industry.”

“Adding social value has been a key Willmott Dixon value since our company was founded over 160 years ago. In our Transforming Communities report, we set out practical ways in which service providers can leave a positive legacy in the communities in which they serve. This Review shows how are doing this.”

The Willmott Dixon Foundation was established to capture the company’s community activities, provide a strategic direction for its social investment, and give a particular focus to the Foundation’s theme of social exclusion and anti-social behaviour.

You can read the Willmott Dixon Foundation Review at http://www.willmottdixongroup.co.uk/being-unique/community-engagement