Willmott Dixon and Manchester College invest in future skills

Twelve students from The Manchester College’s Industry Excellence Academy for Construction & Engineering will play a key role in building the College’s new city centre campus thanks to an industry partnership with Willmott Dixon.


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Willmott Dixon, who was awarded the £54 million contract for the project in August 2020, is sponsoring the students’ on the Architectural & Construction Engineering (ACE) Scholarship programme.

During the two year course, the students will spend at least 90 days on an industry placement with Willmott Dixon, gaining experience in all aspects of the company, from winning work in the new business, preconstruction and design teams, to delivering quality projects with operations and commercial and finding out about all the innovative and sustainability-driven support and customer teams that set the business apart.

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The students from The Manchester College’s Industry Excellence Academy for Construction & Engineering who are on the Architectural & Construction Engineering Scholarship programme sponsored by Willmott Dixon. Also in the is Willmott Dixon’s construction manager Chris Baker and site administrator Danielle Whitworth, second and first from left.

Their classroom-based learning will feature bespoke, relevant modules, co-developed and co-delivered by Willmott Dixon, to help fill skills gaps in the industry, alongside additional workshops specifically focussed on helping the students’ personal development and life skills.

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Upon completion of the course, the students will gain a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Construction and Built Environment, an industry and university-recognised qualification equivalent to three A Levels.

The new, state-of-the-art campus, located opposite the Manchester Arena and Manchester Victoria Station, will become home to The Manchester College’s Industry Excellence Academy for Creative and Digital Industries as well as UCEN Manchester’s Arden School of Theatre and Manchester Film School.

This initiative forms part of Willmott Dixon’s overall purpose, which is to deliver brilliant buildings, transform lives, strengthen communities and enhance the environment so the world is fit for future generations.

Anthony Dillon, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the North, said:

“The city centre campus will educate and create exciting opportunities for generations of Mancunians so we’re proud to say these eager and conscientious students will play a part in helping our teams deliver it.

“Our industry needs more skilled people, and this ACE Scholarship, and partnership with The Manchester College, is an outstanding example of how industry and educators can work together to inspire the next generation, create opportunities and develop the construction workers of the future.”

Chris Wright, Assistant Principal at The Manchester College added:

“We are delighted that Willmott Dixon, as one of the country’s leading businesses in the construction sector, are investing in developing the next generation of talent for the sector.

Working on the new city centre campus will enable our students to gain experience of a wide variety of techniques many of which are at the cutting edge of how the construction sector will be operating for years to come. While developing these skills it is also fantastic that our students will be able to point at a building that will be a mainstay of the Manchester skyline for years to come and say ‘I helped build that’.”

The Manchester College is the number one college for student achievement in Greater Manchester.


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