Bringing communities together and the trainees of the future

For a number of years, Willmott Dixon has run an internal competition with management trainees across a number of divisions, having to source a refurbishment project and manage all aspects through to its completion – with little to no budget. One of the main criteria is the impact the project will have on the local community. Jordan Wilding, Management Trainee of Willmott Dixon Interiors, took on the role of Project Manager and set about finding a suitable site. Jordan came across Grove Park Youth Club which has been left abandoned for a number of years, yet used to be a widely used space by people of all ages in the local community. It needed a great deal of refurbishment work inside and out. It was also being put forward to receive a Listing by Historic England, which added another layer of complexity to the project. This meant that everything done had to be replaced like for like, so that it was in keeping with its original construction and decoration. Jordan also discovered that there was an auxiliary building close by, which was part of the centre with 2 music studios and open space for use, so this was added to the scope of works. Willmott Dixon Interiors trainee challenge, repairing the windows at Grove Park Youth Club, London Trainees repairing the external timber frames windows at Grove Park Youth Club The schedule of works for these two buildings, took place between the 6th – 17th August; however, the programme not only included refurbishment works , but a training programme for local young people identified as NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training). With youth crime on the rise, in part owing to youth centres and recreational activity centres closing across the UK, Willmott Dixon Interiors wanted to involve and empower the local youngsters, providing ideas for their future. The course consisted of employment training and construction skills. We were approached by the Willmott Dixon interiors team to support their project which we did by means of feeding the forty strong team with a hog roast. It was a welcome change to the various combinations of fried food donated by businesses in the local community. It was our way of supporting a worthy cause and getting involved. Lunch provided by Selectaglaze for the Willmott Dixon Interiors trainees Well deserved lunch on site When we visited site we heard many heart-warming stories of how the project had already had an impact on so many involved.  For the trainees, it was giving them an insight into running the full scope of a programme of works; managing and motivating staff, whilst meeting the schedule deadline. Oh and of course; doing all this relying on donations of time, materials, food and expertise. One of the people on the initial skills course, decided to volunteer to help on site. She was very proud to talk about her newly acquired carpentry skills, which she liked, yet had never imagined herself doing anything like it prior to the course. There were apprentices working on site, who had joined the Willmott Dixon Interiors training programme as a result of volunteering in previous years’ community projects. The community will now have a new centre to meet and socialise in, with an IT suite which can be used for training, a kitchen and sports room – something to be very proud of. It is a fantastic initiative, which benefits so many.

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