A successful training scheme in the West Midlands has welcomed a new cohort of students, providing a further recruitment boost for the region’s expanding tram network.
The Sector-based Work Academy, which aims to equip jobseekers with the skills needed to apply for roles at West Midlands Metro, has previously helped to fill nine vacancies on the network – and won praise from the wider light rail sector.
As a fresh intake of students embarked on the four-week programme, the Metro’s HR team was highly commended at the recent Global Light Rail Awards for developing the initiative in partnership with Dudley College and City of Wolverhampton College.
Sector-based Work Academy trainees try out the tram simulator watched by Charlotte Parker from Dudley College (left) and Claire Scrimshire, head of HR and OD at West Midlands Metro
Carl Williams, director of operations at West Midlands Metro, explained: “The training scheme is proving a huge success in supporting our plans for future growth whilst also helping to tackle a sector-wide skills gap.
“We’re delighted this has been recognised by colleagues from across the light rail industry and the programme will continue to evolve to meet our future needs.”
Supported by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and funded through the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Adult Education Budget, the Academy programme includes IT and customer service training and help with literacy and numeracy, as well as developing a range of other skills required for a career on a successful tram network. Following in the footsteps of the first cohort of students, around 30 people are currently taking part in the scheme which guarantees a job interview with the Metro.
As those taking part will be applying for driver customer representative roles, greater emphasis is being placed on hazard awareness and participants have been testing their skills on a high-tech tram simulator.
Claire Scrimshire, head of HR and Organisational Development at West Midlands Metro, added: “The programme has attracted jobseekers from a wide range of backgrounds and has been tailored to help them acquire the skills needed to build a career in light rail.”