Willmott Dixon gave Birmingham students a taste of work as part of a refurbishment project with South and City College.

Fifteen students from the college are working on a vacant council property in Northfield, carrying out a range of building work and gaining valuable experience along the way.

The total refurbishment of the kitchen and bathroom means work includes knocking down walls, taking up floors, plastering, digging drainage, plumbing and pipe work, bricklaying and general painting and decorating.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships is currently working with Birmingham City Council to repair and maintain 60,000 properties in the city. It has contracts for the north and south of the city includes the areas of Edgbaston, Hall Green, Northfield, Selly Oak, Ladywood, Erdington, Perry Bar and Sutton Coldfield.

Although being guided by experienced tradesmen every step of the way, the entire work on the project is carried out by the students, who will now have the confidence and practical experience of working on a real project.

Overseeing the project is Willmott Dixon manager, Dean Brough. Dean said, “The students have been excellent, taking to every task with enthusiasm and enjoyment. This project gives the students a chance to experience a real working site, with all the issues and technicalities that they can’t experience in the classroom. Not only are they doing an excellent job of refurbishing the building, but they will have a lasting example of their work.”

Organising the students is South and City College Birmingham’s external project manager, Loris Cimarosti. Loris said, “This project has been immensely rewarding for the students, who have gained a unique insight into construction work. The supervision, guidance and support from Willmott Dixon has been fantastic and I know that every student is incredibly grateful for the opportunity given to them."

Once complete, the refurbished building will be handed over to Birmingham City council.

Kane Sadler who is studying Maintenance Operations level 2 at the college, said: "I have been working on the house for a few weeks now and I am really enjoying it. It’s a great experience - we are working with and learning from the lead foreman from Willmott Dixon and doing things first hand that we wouldn't have the opportunity to do in college, such as drainage. I’m going to put all this experience on my CV and I think it'll really help me get a job when I finish my course."

Mick Williamson, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon Partnerships said; “As part of our Transforming Communities ethos, we strive to leave a tangible skills legacy in the communities that we serve. We work in partnership with our clients to deliver training initiatives and educational opportunities for local people. We also aim to share our ideas with other organisations through our Transforming Communities report, to help communities through these current austere times.”