Local people will have the chance to learn valuable construction skills and help build accommodation for more than 400 students in Birmingham, thanks to a new training hub.
The £100,000 hub, funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) through the Construction Skills Fund, will offer local people free construction training and a guaranteed job interview after completing a 20-day course.
Led by construction company Bouygues UK, the hub will be based on-site at Bath Court on Bath Row, Birmingham.
L-R Jon Howlin, managing director of training provider The Skills Centre; Denise O’Dwyer, employer and partnership manager at Jobcentre Plus; Lorraine Gregory, CITB regional partnerships manager; Neil Kavanagh, relationship manager at the National Careers Service; Sandra Stevens, CITB local manager; Leigh Hughes, corporate social responsibility director at Bouygues, and Shaun Hall, construction skills project manager at the WMCA
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We know the construction industry in the West Midlands will need 50,000 more trained staff by 2030, and so we need to make sure local people have the skills to fill these jobs.
“As part of our plan to address this and get people trained in construction, we are establishing on-site training hubs across the region. With three out of the 26 hubs up and running already, we hope to have more than 13,000 ready for employment in construction by March next year.
“Through these on-site training hubs people can learn new construction skills for free, get real-world experience on a construction site, and have a guaranteed interview for a job at the end of their course.
“This shows the WMCA’s commitment to helping people from all our communities to find worthwhile jobs that improve their quality of life.”
Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council and WMCA portfolio holder for productivity and skills, said: “These hubs will help fill a crucial gap by allowing people to learn new skills which are directly put into practice on a live building site – so they gain skills, work experience and site-ready accreditation.
"We want people in the West Midlands to benefit from investment in our region – and helping people get the skills that employers need for construction jobs on our doorstep is just one way we can ensure everyone can gain from new building projects such as these.”
The hubs will advertise local job opportunities, and will initially focus on training unemployed people.
The trainees will learn the construction skills needed to create the new student accommodation at Bath Court – and as the site progresses, training in the hub will be changed to match the work on site.
The 12-storey accommodation block is ideally situated for students studying at the University College Birmingham, Birmingham City University and University of Birmingham campuses. It will include 435 student bedrooms and extensive facilities including a large, street-facing gym, an open-plan common room area with seating, games and television screens, two study rooms, a launderette, a dance studio, and a landscaped roof terrace.
Construction started in April 2018, and the first students are set to move in for the 2020/2021 academic year.
Leigh Hughes, Corporate and Social Responsibility Director at Bouygues Construction United Kingdom, said: “We are very proud to be offering a wealth of opportunities for local people, both now and after completion. During construction, our site will create 26 new jobs, including 15 apprenticeships. There will also be 21 work placements.
“We will continue to work with local people and businesses to maximise the positive impact the scheme can have for the local community after construction work has finished.”
Degree apprentice Rihon Scullion from Coventry, an assistant design co-ordinator at Bouygues, added: “It’s fantastic to be able to start my career here and learn all the skills needed for construction management.”
The WMCA will work alongside partners at the Birmingham City Council Employment Access Team, Bouygues, the National Careers Service, the Construction Industry Training Body (CITB), JobCentre Plus and the Department of Work and Pensions, to help maximise employment and training opportunities through the Birmingham hub.
Kalpana Patel, regional director, National Careers Service - West Midlands including Staffordshire, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local residents to upskill and access the upcoming opportunities in construction. The National Careers Service provides impartial careers 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.”
To fund the West Midlands hubs, the WMCA unlocked £2.3m from the Government's £20m Construction Skills Fund (CSF), which will support 26 training projects across the country, 24 funded by the Government and a further two funded by CITB. The 26 hubs aim to train more than 13,000 people to be ready for employment in construction by March 2020.
Lorraine Gregory, CITB regional partnership manager for the Midlands and North, said: “We are delighted to support the launch of the training hub in Birmingham, which offers a fantastic opportunity for those wanting to get into the construction industry. The scheme features one of 26 new CSF on-site training hubs which ensure that as well as learning valuable skills, trainees will be gaining hands-on experience that ensures they are site-ready for employment.
“Projects like this one are vital for bringing people into the industry. With 168,000 skilled construction workers required across the UK by 2022, the opportunities now available in Birmingham are a step towards building the site-ready workforce the construction industry needs.”
Two hubs have already opened in Perry Barr and Wolverhampton, and further hubs are set to open later this year.
To sign up for construction training, contact the National Careers Service West Midlands on 0121 296 5550, or you can find out more information about the National Careers Service via https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/ or by calling 0800 100 900.