Building Lives Academy

Credit: Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

Come along to a Property X-Change Conversation with the team that brought to life the Building Lives Academy in North Kensington.

On September 22nd, team members from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Willmott Dixon, and London Learning Consortium come together in an online #PXConversation to discuss the creation and running of North Kensington’s Building Lives Academy.

Aimed at local residents aged 16-25, the Willmott Dixon Building Lives Academy is an exciting new pre-employment programme in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC). Over 8-weeks, students gain knowledge and experience to start a career in construction or logistics. The fully funded course provides learners with a range of qualifications, including Level 1 certificates in Basic Construction Skills and Employability Skills. The programme also offers courses in Digital Skills, Maths and English, and work experience with Willmott Dixon at one of the Council’s new home construction sites.

The council-owned premises on Kensal Road W10, which were previously empty, have been provided to Willmott Dixon under a social investment lease. In practice, this means that RBKC provides the property at a reduced rent. In return, the academy trains young people from the borough and helps them to access employment. As a result, this project both activates a previously vacant council-owned building and trains the next generation of people who will develop the borough’s built environment in the future.

In this conversation, moderated by RBKC’s Michael Blake, we will get to hear how this project came about from the people that made it happen. We will talk about social value, community wealth building, and collaboration, and shine a light on some of the methods that the team have used to overcome challenges along the way.

In conversation:

Maria Roye, Traineeship and Employer Engagement Manager at London Learning Consortium Community (LLC): Maria has worked at London Learning Consortium Training Provider for several years, advising and supporting young people and older adults to help them move into a career or make a next step in their professional development. Having worked in many schools and colleges, Maria is a qualified and experienced professional who oversees the Building Lives Construction Programme in Kensal Road W10.

Molly Pritchard, Social Investment Officer, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: Molly joined Kensington and Chelsea Council in October 2020 as part of the National Graduate Development Programme. The Building Lives Academy was one of the first projects she led as a graduate.

Martine Corbett, Training Programme and Social Value Manager, Willmott Dixon: Martine found her love of supporting young people whilst working in an FE college. Originally joining Willmott Dixon as Apprentice and Trainee Manager almost 5 years ago, supporting the development of trainees and managing their training programme, Martine now works within the Legacy Team as a Social Value Manager. Martine leads the delivery of Building Lives Academies for Willmott Dixon. With a passion for supporting those that are marginalised, Martine is committed to delivering the Willmott Dixon Social Value Strategy and leaving a lasting legacy in the communities in which they work.

Moderated by:

Michael Blake, Head of Social Investment, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: Michael leads and manages RBKC’s social investment work: shaping the organisation’s social investment strategy, managing their social investment projects and leases, designing investment opportunities and sharing learning.


  • Maria Roye, London Learning Consortium
  • Molly Pritchard, RB Kensington & Chelsea
  • Martine Corbett, Willmott Dixon
  • Michael Blake, RB Kensington & Chelsea

When & where

  • September 22
  • 12.00-1.00pm
  • Online

Sign up

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