Willmott Dixon strengthens education team

Birmingham-based contractor Willmott Dixon has appointed Janie Chesterton as its new head of education in the UK.

Janie, who is based at the company’s office in Coleshill, has been brought in to develop Willmott Dixon’s education sector business, providing strategic leadership and coordinating its relationships with Partnerships for Schools (PFS), framework partner Scape, local authorities and central Government.

Prior to joining Willmott Dixon, Janie spent five years on Bristol City Council’s PFI and Building Schools for the Future (BSF) teams, where she undertook negotiations for the council on its schools PFI schemes, one of which became the UK’s first Local Education Partnership, and co-wrote Bristol’s bid for BSF.  She was also commercial manager at PFS and Northgate Managed Services.

Peter Owen, Willmott Dixon’s managing director for the Midlands, said: “Janie will add strategic leadership to a key sector for us, which will continue to offer opportunity despite the well publicised spending cuts. It highlights how we will continue to invest to broaden our range of skills and ensure we challenge our thinking.

“Janie’s appointment comes at a time when we are addressing the ‘more for less’ value challenge of our clients with a number of exciting new products, including our Sunesis range of standardised school designs, in joint venture with Scape.”

Janie said: “I will bring my client-side experience to add new fire-power to Willmott Dixon’s engagement with education clients as we seek to enhance our offering in low carbon and value for money.    

“I have always admired how the company has striven to add intellectual content to the process of creating the next generation of school environments, helping achieve a number of UK firsts that have since been adopted across the country. My role will be to ensure that continues, as the company’s role in education is substantially more than ‘just’ being a builder.”

At the beginning of August, Willmott Dixon was chosen by Birmingham City University as preferred bidder for a £61m project to build phase one of its City Centre Campus.

Willmott Dixon is set to build a purpose-built 18,310 sq metre home for the University’s Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD) on a plot adjacent to Millennium Point.