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Construction students at the site of City Campus Manchester

Construction and Engineering students secure positions with Willmott Dixon

After completing industry placements working on The Manchester College’s brand-new City Campus Manchester development the student duo secure employment with leading construction firm Willmott Dixon. 

Mackenzie Garrett and Alfie Gosling from The Manchester College have secured positions on construction firm Willmott Dixon’s management trainee programme, following an industry placement where the duo worked on the construction of the College’s brand-new City Campus Manchester

The pair completed the industry placement, which has led directly into employment, as part of their Architectural and Construction Engineering course which they began in September 2020. The Scholarship programme provided students with the opportunity to work on the College’s amazing new city centre campus two days a week - alongside their classroom-based learning at The Manchester College – getting a taster for what it’s like to work on a major construction development. 

“The course was better than I could have ever imagined,” said McKenzie who is now working in Willmott Dixon’s planning department. “I was able to get so much exposure to real life work which tested the knowledge I was learning in the classroom. 

Working at City Campus Manchester has opened a lot of opportunities and I never expected when I joined the course that I would be leaving The Manchester College with a job already secured. It’s definitely one of the best courses for a pathway into the industry.

Alfie Gosling, who has secured a position with Willmott Dixon as a Quantity Surveyor commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Willmott Dixon scholarship programme as part of my College course and by completing my extended work experience, I had a much wider perspective on what I wanted to do in the future and helped me understand the different roles within the industry.”

City Campus Manchester began construction in late 2019. Following build completion in July this year the four-storey campus opened its doors for the first time at the beginning of September to students studying at the College’s Industry Excellence Academies for Hospitality and Catering, Creative and Digital Media, Music, Computing and Digital as well as their Centres of Excellence for Visual Arts and Performing Arts.

The campus offers a range of facilities creating an exceptional student experience including two theatres, dance and performance studios, TV, radio, and sound studios as well as a 40-seat restaurant and training kitchen.   

Working on the City Campus Manchester site provided the opportunity for The Manchester College students to experience a hands-on approach and learn different aspects of the business from pre-construction and design teams through to delivering quality projects with operations and commercial. Gaining invaluable skills along the way, the experience wasn’t just a placement but “being a part of the Willmott Dixon team and I was actually building the new campus for the College where I was a student” said Mackenzie.  

Anthony Dillon, Managing Director in the North for Willmott Dixon, said: “City Campus Manchester will educate and create exciting opportunities for generations of Mancunians and our 12 eager and conscientious ACE Scholarship students can proudly say they have played a key role in helping our teams deliver it. 

“We’re delighted Alfie and Mackenzie will now be joining us on our management trainee programme, one of the most established and successful development schemes in our industry. Many of our current directors and senior managers started as management trainees and have progressed, through the nurturing and investment we have made to develop their careers.

“Construction needs more skilled people, and the 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 and create opportunities.”

Charlotte Thornton, Construction and Engineering Department Team Leader commented: “All of our students really enjoyed their industry placement, working on various construction sites and it has led to some amazing permanent positions. It’s such an amazing feeling to support our students through what can be a difficult and stressful process and I am thrilled to see them progressing onto a career path and being successful in what is an opportunity of a lifetime for them.” 

Both students have started their new position with Willmott Dixon this September. The Manchester College wishes them the best of luck in their future career. We look forward to welcoming them back to talk to future generations of students as our successful Alumni.