Ben’s passport to a new career on the Luton DART

Ben Scott had enjoyed various jobs since graduating from the University of Hertfordshire with a degree in maths and computer studies. Still, he had a hankering to find a longer-term career path – and soon he found it on our pioneering Luton DART construction scheme.

The 28 year old local resident had tried roles in data analytics and teaching, and also spent time working with the Luton Culture services team. He attended our Passport to Employment programme, keen to explore other options suited to his skills, and was signposted to the Construction Skills Training Hub. 

We established the hub on the Luton DART site in November 2018, with £1m funding provided by the Construction Industry Training Board. The hub is led by main DART contractor VolkerFitzpatrick-Kier (VFK).

In 15 months it successfully passed it’s target of providing training in a variety of construction skills to more than 720 people. 

  • 45 per cent of recruits came from under-represented groups
  • 15 per cent were looking to switch careers

In February 2019, Ben attended the initial five day training and performed well, achieving several industry-specific qualifications.

Inspired by what he’d learned about construction, Ben then secured a period of work experience with the commercial / quantity surveyor team.

He made an immediate impression with his excellent IT and analytical skills. Soon he was invited for an interview with commercial director Kevin Kilmartin, who offered Ben a role as assistant quantity surveyor.

Ben’s start on the path to becoming a chartered surveyor

Ben joined the VFK commercial team full time in May 2019. To support him in the technical knowledge required, he was enrolled onto a further specialist qualification, a high-level construction quantity surveyor apprenticeship..

Since then his achievements include:

  • inspiring talent of the future, presenting to schoolchildren in Luton 
  • supporting the VFK apprentice network, managing the site tours 
  • preparing work packages for tender 
  • building great relationships with sub-contractors

Councillor Javeria Hussain, Chair of Luton Rising, said:

“The Construction Skills Training Hub has been central to our vision of developing aspiration and ending poverty in Luton, and we are tremendously proud of its success.
Joining the scheme has been a life-changing experience for so many people, from apprentices starting their careers, to people looking for their first jobs and others wanting to develop their careers.
We work hard to make sure all our development programmes deliver direct benefits to local people and communities. As the UK’s most socially responsible airport owner, investment in jobs and training is one of our top priorities.
It’s then tremendous to hear stories like Ben’s, working hard for a new future.”

DART from London in no time

The Luton Direct Air-Rail Transit (DART) is our major fast transit infrastructure project that will link Luton Airport Parkway Station and the airport terminal in well under four minutes. When it opens in 2023, the DART will help provide a seamless journey from central London to the airport in just half an hour by the fastest trains.

Ben enjoys his learning programme and is benefiting from building a network of others on the same career path. 

He said: “This role is exciting as it challenges me – it also uses both my mathematical abilities and my computer skills to support the work of the team. The working environment is fun, and every day is different.”

Mr Kilmartin told us: “Ben adds great value to the commercial team – he brings creativity, innovation and a fresh way of looking at things.”