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Thu May 23 2019

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Willmott Dixon opens prison training centre

1 May Willmott Dixon has set up a training academy in a Kent prison to provide inmates with construction qualifications.

Willmott Dixon chief executive Rick Willmott at the launch of the Building Lives Drylining Academy inside HMP Elmley
Willmott Dixon chief executive Rick Willmott at the launch of the Building Lives Drylining Academy inside HMP Elmley

Willmott Dixon hopes that its Building Lives Drylining Academy inside HMP Elmley on the Isle of Sheppey will be the first of a series of prison training centres to help offenders find jobs and rehabilitation on their release.

The Willmott Dixon Building Lives Drylining Academy will provide prisoners with drylining skills and a CSCS card to help them move straight into employment when released.

Willmott Dixon and its supply chain converted a warehouse inside Elmley prison into a training facility. They have also equipped prison officers with accredited skills necessary to deliver six-week courses. They aim to train more than 100 HMP Elmley prisoners a year.

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Willmott Dixon puts great value in community service.   Last year, 80% of Willmott Dixon employees undertook a community-related project as part of the company’s volunteering policy.

Willmott Dixon’s regional head of legacy Richard Pickett, who helped set up the drylining academy, said: “It’s a logical step to tap into the potential of people who are in prison but keen to find a sustainable and rewarding job on release. Our industry needs to constantly think of imaginative new ideas if we are to attract the people we need and this is a very replicable model that’s easy to migrate to other UK prisons.”

HMP Elmley deputy governor Andy Davy said, “HMP Elmley and the Reducing ReOffending team are excited to be working in partnership with Willmott Dixon. Being able to better prepare our residents with the appropriate skills to transition straight into employment upon release is a priority for the prison. Employment is a definite contributor to the reduction in offending behaviour and helps to build stronger family stability.”

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