Willmott Dixon has recruited four local apprentices as part of an initiative to provide employment opportunities that will leave a lasting legacy for tenants and learners across the Rotherham Metropolitan area.

Stacey Bann, Jack Smith, Tyler Shaw and Daniel Essex will join Willmott Dixon’s Rotherham branch through the company’s pledge to recruit eight local apprentices each year and its partnership with Rotherham College of Arts and Technology.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships is working with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s arms length management organisation 2010 Rotherham to deliver a repairs service to 12,000 council-owned properties in the areas of Wentworth South, Wentworth Valley, Rother Valley West and Rother Valley South.

The maintenance and repairs specialist is supporting the National Apprenticeship Service's 100/100 campaign which aims to create 100 apprenticeships within south Yorkshire in 100 days. Willmott Dixon’s local team has worked closely with Rotherham College of Arts and Technology to introduce a new NVQ level 2 in Building Maintenance Operations, allowing the apprentices to study in their local area.

They identified a need for the course in south Yorkshire when it was realised that the specialist training programme was not already available for employees in the region.

Stacey Bann, age 21 and from Rotherham, is one of the apprentices who has started work with Willmott Dixon. She said, “I did a six month training programme through 2010 Rotherham and learnt basic construction skills, like plastering and tiling. It helped me to realise that I wanted to do plastering as a career, but I couldn’t find a job and ended up being unemployed for five months which was horrible. When I wake up in the morning I need to know that I’ve got something to do and a routine because I like to be active. I’ve always preferred doing practical things so a hands on role is perfect for me. Finding out that I’d got the apprenticeship was fantastic and I just can’t wait to start work and training for my industry qualifications.”

Willmott Dixon’s Rotherham branch manager, David Coldwell, said, “We were keen to recruit Building Maintenance Operations apprentices but there were no college providers to deliver the training in the local area. We contacted the National Apprenticeship Scheme and Rotherham College of Arts and Technology and both organisations were willing to investigate the options, meet to discuss requirements and find a way forward. We were thrilled when months of hard work paid off and the college was given centre approval to deliver the training programme.

“It’s allowed us to recruit four new local apprentices and give two existing employees, Nick Booth and Robert Lane, the opportunity to further their careers. Through our contract with 2010 Rotherham we’re aiming to provide opportunities for eight apprentices every year. It is our aim to leave a lasting legacy in the communities where we are working and this is an important step forward, not just for Willmott Dixon, but also local youngsters and an opportunity for new qualifications and jobs to be created in the area. We would welcome the involvement of other local companies who wish to invest for tomorrow rather than just today.”

Rotherham College of Arts and Technology’s Senior Business Advisor, Charles Grayson, said, “We are focused on supporting the training needs of local employers and opening career opportunities for our region’s young people. The Building Maintenance Operations apprenticeship offers a wide range of construction skills ranging from carpentry and joinery to painting and decorating, and even maintenance plumbing. We received over 100 applications and the six successful candidates have really shown the enthusiasm, drive and willingness learn which embeds the ethos of apprenticeship training today.

“Willmott Dixon’s pledge to recruit eight local apprentices a year is a really exciting opportunity for our region and will offer young people an outstanding opportunity to build a long and prosperous career within the construction sector. Apprenticeship programmes are a fantastic opportunity for employers to recruit talented and motivated individuals of all ages. Companies that nurture apprentices can really see a return on their investment and apprentices can build a strong business for the forward. Willmott Dixon has really embraced the apprenticeship ethos and we are looking forward to working with them and their superb apprentices over the coming years.”

Willmott Dixon Partnerships works with social housing landlords, currently providing support services to over 120,000 homes, 1,200 public buildings and 50 commercial properties across the UK.