Local people will have the chance to learn valuable construction skills and gain new jobs on a major project to regenerate Coventry city centre, thanks to a new training hub which opened today.
The £300,000 hub, funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) through its Construction Gateway programme, will offer local unemployed people a guaranteed job interview after completing a two-week tailor-made training course.
The hub is being led by local infrastructure contractor, Eurovia Contracting, and will be based at its White Street site in the city centre.
L-R Eurovia Contracting highways operative Danny Pollock, managing director Phil Skegg, social value advisor Julie Cartwright, Cllr Kevin Maton, cabinet member for education and skills at Coventry City Council, deputy Mayor of the West Midlands Cllr Bob Sleigh, Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration at Coventry City Council, Rachel Green, business development manager at training provider Infraskills, and Moussa Sane, highways operative at Eurovia
A total of 150 local people will be able to get new jobs at the hub over the next 12 months, working on a regeneration project as part of the city’s preparations to celebrate its title as UK City of Culture in 2021.
Three residents have already started new jobs with Eurovia Contracting, following a recruitment open day for unemployed local people registered with Coventry Job Shop.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We know the construction sector is growing rapidly, with new opportunities for up to 100,000 trained workers set to open up over the next ten years.
"It is therefore vital that we provide the training opportunities to local people so they can get the necessary skills required to fill these roles.
“I’m very pleased that this is exactly what we are trying to do through our Construction Gateway programme, and this new hub in Coventry will help unemployed people to learn new construction skills for free, get real-world experience and have a guaranteed job interview at the end of their course.
“We want local residents to be able to work on their local infrastructure projects, and this is a great example of how we’re giving people the skills they need to do exactly that.”
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, Coventry City Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see local people being given the chance to gain experience and qualifications in a growing industry where they can find careers. It’s especially great that three people have already found permanent employment with Eurovia Contracting and are working on making improvements to the city centre right now.”
Cllr Kevin Maton, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “The skyline of Coventry is rapidly changing with some great construction projects helping to transform the city. One of our key priorities is to ensure we enable our residents to learn the skills to help them into work. This exciting project will help us achieve that aim and see some of its beneficiaries playing a key role in the city’s transformation.”
Phil Skegg, managing director, Eurovia Contracting, said: “It’s important that as well as delivering infrastructure schemes and regenerating public spaces through our projects, we improve the lives of people in the areas where we work. We are proud to be leading this construction hub, which has the potential to make a lasting difference to people’s lives and create a long-term, representative workforce in Coventry.”
Danny Pollock, aged 41, is one of the three people who have already landed a job at Eurovia through the Construction Gateway.
He said: “I was unemployed for two months and saw the opportunity for a fresh start in construction while walking past the Coventry Job Shop window.
“The course was brilliant and I’m learning so much every day. I love the job and working in the team – we’re like a family. I hope to stay with the company until I retire.”
To maximise employment and training opportunities through the hub, the WMCA is working alongside partners at Coventry City Council, Coventry Job Shop, Eurovia Contracting, training provider Infraskills, the National Careers Service, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), JobCentre Plus and the Department of Work and Pensions.
Lorraine Gregory, CITB regional partnership manager for the Midlands and North, said: “We are delighted to support the launch of this training hub in Coventry, which offers a fantastic opportunity for those wanting to get into the construction industry.
“With 168,000 skilled construction workers required across the UK by 2022, the training opportunities now available in Coventry are a step towards building the site-ready workforce the industry needs.”
Kalpana Patel, regional director, National Careers Service - West Midlands including Staffordshire, said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for local residents to upskill and access the upcoming opportunities in construction. The National Careers Service provides impartial advice and guidance to help individuals make informed decisions about the range of career pathways available and take advantage of the new opportunities in this sector.”
So far, more than 1,400 people have been through Construction Gateway training since summer 2018, with 700 people having successfully moved into employment after completing the course.
After completing the course, learners are supported on their journey to work through the National Careers Service for as long as they need, whether or not their first interview is a success. Those who are not offered a job immediately are added to the West Midlands “site-ready talent pool” – which is shared with construction recruiters and provides a list of people who are ready for work immediately.
The Job Shop in Coventry city centre also offers candidates continued support to find work through its strong links with construction firms recruiting in the city.
To sign up for construction training, talk to The Job Shop or contact the National Careers Service West Midlands on 0121 296 5550. For more information about the National Careers Service, visit https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/ or call 0800 100 900.