Mayor celebrates reopening of landmark building in Birmingham

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street today encouraged people to make the most of new career opportunities as he visited a landmark building which for years was at the beating heart of the community in Aston.

The Mayor chatted with local residents as he toured the Legacy Centre of Excellence (LCoE), which for more than two decades was known as The Drum before closing its doors three years ago.

The building stands on the site of the former Aston Hippodrome, a major variety theatre which hosted Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Judy Garland.

Mayor celebrates reopening of landmark building in Birmingham

Six-year-old Kavalli Hemmings from Hockley with Mayor Andy Street (centre) and exhibitors at the careers roadshow at the Legacy Centre of Excellence (LCoE), formerly The Drum, in Aston

Now back up and running as a business, arts and educational centre for local people, one of the first events to be staged at the venue was a joint careers roadshow organised by the LCoE and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The Mayor said: “This wonderful community building is much loved by residents across North Birmingham and it is fantastic to see it back in use.

“I know that local people were devastated by its closure and I am delighted that it has now reopened with lots of new facilities. As well as still hosting arts performances, the LCoE now has an education academy to train young people for careers across the region, including in business, finance, and engineering.

“I believe this is really important as we look to get more people, particularly the younger generation, into work. This is precisely what our Skills Roadshows aim to do, as we help to showcase all the brilliant training and employment opportunities across the region.

“Thanks to the WMCA taking control of the £126m adult education budget, I am determined to tackle both unemployment and skills shortages by creating pathways into genuine work opportunities for local people, providing the training and qualifications that employers need.

“I am determined that this investment will change people’s lives, and Friday’s event shows our commitment to helping people from all our communities to find worthwhile jobs that improve their quality of life.”

Today’s event was for unemployed people and those wanting to get a better job, giving advice and support to those who need it the most.

Local employers, colleges, training providers and job advisors were on hand to help residents find work, access training or plot a path to a better career.  

The event was focused on the region’s fastest growing economies, including digital, construction, advanced manufacturing and engineering, and business and professional services, offering advice on what qualifications are needed to get jobs in these sectors, and how to access the training required.

Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council and WMCA portfolio holder for productivity and skills, said: “We want to ensure the £126m adult education budget makes a real difference by enabling more people to get jobs or improve their earnings.

“Events like this one at the LCoE are helping residents to get the information they need to take up training and qualifications they need to start a new career in a growing industry in the West Midlands.

“For those already in work, they are a great way to find training to boost skills and advance careers.”

Seven roadshows have already taken place across the West Midlands over the past four months, visited by more than 2,000 people. Further events are planned over the coming months.