A half price travel scheme for thousands of young trainees was today made permanent by Transport for West Midlands(TfWM) to mark National Apprenticeship Week.
Two apprentices helping to deliver the Midland Metro tram extensions for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) joined the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and the authority’s transport lead Cllr Roger Lawrence and productivity and skills lead Cllr George Duggins to announce the move.
The scheme, launched as a pilot last September, will see an extra 31,000 young people across the region enjoy a 50 per cent discount.
Apprentices Katie Roberts and Dan Thomas joined the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street at the Metro extension site in Victoria Square to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week. Apprentices Katie Roberts and Dan Thomas joined the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, WMCA transport lead Cllr Roger Lawrence and productivity & skills lead Cllr George Duggins at the Metro extension site in Victoria Square to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week.
Mayor Andy Street said helping young people get the skills they needed for the jobs being created across the region was a top priority for WMCA.
“Apprenticeships offer young people a fantastic opportunity to earn and learn and get that essential first step on the career ladder.
“I cannot overstate the importance of apprenticeships to our economy – helping businesses develop the skills they need.
“So we are delighted to support them in a practical way by providing cheaper travel. At the same time they can also help cut congestion and pollution by using trains, trams and buses.”
The two apprentices both work for Midland Metro Alliance (MMA), the organisation designing, planning and delivering five new tram extensions over the next decade for the WMCA.
MMA is already recruiting apprentices to ensure the West Midlands can rely on a new generation of young people and create a legacy of construction expertise which the region can export around the world.
Katie Roberts joined the MMA in September as a document control/business administration apprentice.
She said: “It was brilliant news when I found out I had successfully got the apprenticeship and could start in September 2017. I am still absolutely loving my apprenticeship.”
Dan Thomas began his MMA apprenticeship in first line management at City of Wolverhampton College, following redundancy and several years of temporary jobs.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, WMCA lead on transport and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council said: “I’m delighted we can roll out this scheme permanently, following our successful trial.
“The WMCA has been committed to making travel more affordable for young people because we are very aware of the positive impact that can have on young lives.
“Our transport arm – TfWM - has been working hard with bus, tram and train operators to make this happen and it’s great news for young people.
“We hope they will now take full advantage of this scheme over the coming year.”
Cllr George Duggins, WMCA lead for skills and productivity and leader of Coventry City Council, said: “We are committed to helping more young people gain the skills they need to develop successful and rewarding careers.
“Apprenticeships are a great way of learning on the job and developing the skills we know employers value.
“This is one way we can make a concrete contribution to help people complete an apprenticeship or traineeship and pursue their goals in life.”