With National Apprenticeship Week (6th - 10th February) highlighting the importance of skills development, Willmott Dixon and Catalyst Housing believe their project to build 50 homes at Carlton Vale in Kilburn shows exactly how it’s possible to use construction to provide life-long skills.

Eleven residents from Kilburn, Harlesden, Wembley and Neasden are learning skills at Carlton Vale in a variety of sought after trades like plumbing, electrical work, joinery and carpentry.

It is part of contractor Willmott Dixon and housing group Catalyst’s commitment that this project will leave a lasting legacy of training and job creation beyond the construction period.

One resident is even on a fast-track path to be a site manager after being accepted on Willmott Dixon’s graduate management programme, which grooms future leaders of the company. Dipesh Pindoria from Neasden, who joined Willmott Dixon’s trainee management scheme in 2011, is using Carlton Vale to hone his management skills before becoming an assistant building manager.

Dipesh says, “It’s been fantastic to use a site near my house to learn and develop knowledge that will give me a solid platform for the rest of my career.”

Another person to benefit is Kilburn resident Luke Darocha, who is gaining an NVQ level two in bricklaying. Luke said, “I’m the youngest trainee on site at 20 and have already complete level one of my NVQ. My role has seen me build the internal cavity blockwork as well as external brickwork and I’m looking forward to what my career holds for me when I get to level two.”

Another young learner is 22 year old Neasden resident Ebenezer Laryea, who after competing an NVQ in carpentry, is rounding off his skills by working at Carlton Vale to gain experience in plumbing while taking an NVQ at the College of North West London. Ebenezer says, “I’ve now got the sort of trade skills that will enable me to progress and earn good money from construction.”

Other local people benefiting are Henrietta Daappa, administration assistance from South Kilburn, Augustus Sandy, trainee plumber from Harlesden, Ruth Samuels, trainee electrician from Stanmore, Thomas Harrington, trainee electrician from Paddington, Kerit Patel, trainee carpenter from Wembley, Clayton McMenzie, trainee carpenter from Harlesden, Nelson Coelho, trainee carpenter from Kilburn and Arletta Davis, trainee joiner from Wembley.

The 50 homes at Carlton Vale are due for completion at the end of March 2012 and the team were determined a substantial part of the workforce were trainees from Kilburn or the nearby area.

Kevin Lambert, construction manager for Willmott Dixon said, “Construction is always looking for skilled people and rather than import them from other areas, we wanted to use Carlton Vale to train a new generation of skilled workers that will help drive prosperity in Kilburn and the local area. I’m pleased to say we have been able to provide meaningful work opportunities for the eleven and will help ensure we find work for them when the project finishes. “

Lena McManus, Catalyst senior project manager says, “Catalyst Housing is committed to being the catalyst for change wherever we work. As well building fantastic new homes our partnership with Willmott Dixon will leave behind a real skills boost for the South Kilburn area.’