Foundation Trainee Challenge: The Willmott Dixon Foundation Trainee Challenge gives a handful of our final year trainees the opportunity to lead a project from conception to completion.
Management trainee Jordan and our people from our Midlands office converted an outbuilding into a training space for the Salvation Army’s Housing Association (SAHA) in Newbold Lodge. The new space is now providing residents, nine of which were previously homeless, with opportunities to improve their futures.
SAHA Resident said:
“They’re going to teach us new skills and how to get on with our lives… hopefully I’ll become a better person and have a career and actually do something with myself.”
Many of the charities SAHA works with offer free training. Unfortunately for Newbold Lodge residents, the nearest training facility was around 15 miles away. This was a real barrier for residents, who were unable to afford the cost of public transport or who suffered from anxiety or mental health issues.
Jordan wanted to provide a training space that these young people could reach easily. When she spotted an unused garage space on the association’s grounds, she saw an opportunity.
SAHA Resident commented:
“It looks so much nicer, they’ve jetted everything, there are flowers everywhere and it’s much prettier. It actually gives me more of a meaning and I can come out here with a big smile on my face.”
To raise funds for the renovation, Jordan hosted a University challenge involving the community and social enterprise Designs in Mind. She arranged a supply chain breakfast and hosted a raffle. These activities raised £2,756 and generous supply chain partners donated £3,635 worth of items.
John Gately, Lead Activities and Learning Co-ordinator, SAHA said:
“This facility can only enhance the work we do to enhance the skills the young people will have when they leave us. It may be only a small thing that happens once a year at Willmott Dixon, but the actual impact it’s going to have on young people’s lives is immense.”
Jordan, with her army of supply chain partners and a group of fantastic volunteers, renovated the building in just three weeks. They removed garage doors, bricked up a wall, replaced existing plasterboard and installed new flooring. The team also improved the outside space, laying down new paving and installing a barbecue. They built vegetable planters so that residents could grow their own produce.
Shortly after the building opened in July 2019 Jordan held a careers day for 14 residents and three found employment as a result!
The converted garage is now being used for AQA training, 1-2-1 sessions, passport to independence workshops, CSCS training and staff meetings. Residents’ opportunities are improving as a result, with attendance on college courses doubling.