From education to employment


hard hat on floor

The University of Bolton Group is collaborating with contractor Willmott Dixon to provide jobs for students during construction of the £40m Bolton College of Medical Sciences, a revolutionary healthcare training facility due to open in 2024.

The first apprentice from Bolton College is now on-site, kickstarting a programme of employment initiatives that will run throughout construction. 

Building work on the Bolton College of Medical Sciences (BCMS), led by Willmott Dixon, began earlier this year and will generate a minimum local spend of £6m, largely through local employment and supply-chain expenditure. 

In collaboration with Bolton College and the University of Bolton, students from various construction-related disciplines, such as site management, bricklaying, joinery and painting and decorating, will work alongside the Willmott Dixon team during the construction process. 

17-year-old Jake Hough is the first apprentice on-site from Bolton College. Studying for a Level 4 Site Supervisor Apprenticeship, Jake willcomplete one year of his apprenticeship on the BCMS site before transitioning to another Willmott Dixon project to ensure sustained employment throughout the course of the apprenticeship.

Jake lives locally to Bolton and is one of many local residents contributing towards the construction of the project.

Commenting on his role, Jake said:

“Onsite experience is the best way to learn in my opinion. The most exciting part of the BCMS build for me is the modern technology used throughout the building. The technology that is being used just fascinates me. I also feel privileged to work on a project that will have such a great impact on the local community and the world of teaching.”

Jake will be joined on-site by trade students at Bolton College who will complete their required work placements at BCMS, in disciplines including plumbing, plastering, electrics and brickwork. 

Opportunities also extend to degree students at the University of Bolton too. Willmott Dixon has committed to providing a three-month paid internship over the summer of 2023 to a construction graduate.

BCMS will also be used as a live project for civil engineering and construction management students at the University of Bolton, who will be given a real brief and live issues to work through.   

In addition to Willmott Dixon’s work with students in Bolton, it has partnered with homelessness charity Emmaus, which works across Greater Manchester to help people who have been homeless by providing them with a home and meaningful work. One person has already secured a short-term working trial on BCMS through this partnership. 

BCMS Project Director and Managing Director of strategic consultancy Just Ask Scarlett, Mark O’Reilly, says: 

“Once BCMS is up and running it’s going to provide countless employment opportunities for people in Bolton looking to go into medical and clinical professions. But we felt strongly that there was no reason why it couldn’t start generating jobs while under construction, so that’s what we’ve worked with Willmott Dixon to create. We hope students at Bolton College and University take full advantage of this opportunity and are proud to be involved in a project of such regional significance.”

BCMS is a collaborative project between the University of Bolton, Bolton College, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Bolton Council, and will give people a direct route into clinical healthcare employment, with a focus on practical, skills-based learning in a live hospital environment. The first intake of BCMS learners is due to start in September 2024. 

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