#NAW2016 - Willmott Dixon apprentice Luke Chambers

Enhancing the on-site experience opportunities of construction apprentices working in the built environment is an issue close to the heart of SCAPE and its delivery partners.

Willmott Dixon apprentice Luke Chambers enjoyed working on the £6.65 million Lincoln University Technical College project, which was delivered through the SCAPE National Framework, and credits his time there as an important step onto the first rung of his career ladder.

Luke, who wants to become a site manager one day, was involved in the scheme which saw contractor Willmott Dixon construct one new building and refurbish a Grade II listed building on the Greestone Centre site. It was a challenging project which required working close to Lincoln Cathedral in what English Heritage describes as ‘one of the most historic landscapes in the East Midlands’.

During his time learning both on site and at Leicester College as part of his three-year apprenticeship, Luke found the UTC scheme to be extremely exciting.

He said: “Medieval artefacts were discovered in its early stages, meaning we had to consistently think on our feet and solve problems on site and create solutions. We needed to take into account the historic element of the site, such as adapting the design to avoid the Lincoln Cathedral Close Wall.

“One of my favourite aspects of working on site is the sense of accomplishment I feel when I see a project reach completion. I like knowing that I have been part of the building process all the way through.”

Luke said that Lincoln UTC has been a steep learning curve for him, but at the same time a very rewarding one. The UTC project focused on how it could benefit the students and create a facility which would meet the university’s needs; the scheme clearly met its brief, as it scored an outstanding 10/10 on Willmott Dixon’s client satisfaction questionnaire.

As well as gaining practical, hands-on experience, Luke also achieved some of his academic goals in 2015. Luke now holds an HND level qualification in ‘sustainable construction in the built environment’ and NVQ5; two important milestones in his construction career.

As part of his structured learning and development process with Willmott Dixon, he is being exposed to the many skills needed to work long-term in the construction sector.

Luke told us: “Last year I achieved so much in terms of progression. I have already begun a management scheme which will allow me to continue to grow within Willmott Dixon, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the skills needed to manage a site team.”

It is clear from Luke’s remarks just how much he enjoyed taking part in the UTC project and how proud he is of what he has achieved.

Currently Luke is onsite on some of Nottingham’s most important projects including the a new bioscience facility for Nottingham City Council and the Field of Dreams community pavilion; a project aiming to enrich the city’s cricketing legacy.

Luke has taken part in a number of community-led programmes in the region, further helping him to enhance the areas where he has been working. For example, he was part of an organisational committee for the Willmott Dixon trainee weekend, where 120 of the contractor’s trainees came together to carry out refurbishment works at Nottingham’s Hyson Green Youth Club. Luke is also a CITB Construction Ambassador, in this role he has recently supported at a careers fair in a Leicestershire school.

We wish him every success in his longer term ambition to become a site manager. As a built environment specialist, SCAPE fully supports the efforts of our industry to provide real life training opportunities for apprentices like Luke on schemes such as Lincoln UTC.

Nick Heath

Written by:

Nicholas Heath

Operations Director - Willmott Dixon