Hundreds of local people will have the chance to learn valuable construction skills and help build more than 1,400 new homes on one of Birmingham’s biggest construction sites 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 job training and a guaranteed job interview after completing a 20-day course.
It will be based on-site at the Perry Barr Residential Scheme, where £496m is being invested by Birmingham City Council, central Government and the WMCA to regenerate the area and deliver long-lasting benefits for local people.
(from left) Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, Anna Evans, project director for the Perry Barr Residential Scheme at developers Lendlease, trainees Imaan Khan and Zubar Akram, Sarah Fenton from CITB, and Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street officially cut the ribbon to open the construction training hub at the Perry Barr Residential Scheme.
Some of the first trainees, Imaan Khan and Zubar Akram, officially cut the ribbon to open the hub today (August 14), alongside the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, Birmingham City Council leader and WMCA portfolio holder for transport Cllr Ian Ward, and international property group Lendlease, which is developing the site and has provided the dedicated space for the hub.
The Mayor said: "The Perry Barr Residential Scheme will be a game-changer, with a lasting housing and regeneration legacy. To maximise that legacy, it’s vital that local people have the opportunity to benefit from this kind of investment in the West Midlands.
"We know the construction industry in our region will need 50,000 more trained staff by 2030. This training hub will give local people the chance to get involved in this growing sector.
"They can learn new construction skills for free, get real-world experience on a construction site, and have an interview for a great job at the end of their course.
"This is the first of several on-site training hubs we will set up in the West Midlands, and we look forward to seeing hundreds of local people having the chance to directly benefit from new construction jobs being created in their area."
The hub will train people in the skills needed on-site as construction progresses. The first trainees will learn about civil engineering, setting a site out and formwork – vital skills at the start of a development – and as the site progresses, training in the hub will be changed to match the needs on site.
The hubs will advertise local job opportunities, and will initially focus on training unemployed people.
Cllr Ward said: "It is pleasing that a major regeneration project being overseen by the city council is able to play a key role in nurturing and developing the next generation of talent within the construction industry.
"The Perry Barr scheme will act as a catalyst for further investment into Birmingham and we need to have the right skills within the local workforce if we are to be ready to deliver the next wave of projects that come to the city and wider region."
Birmingham City Council appointed Lendlease as principal contractor for the Perry Barr Residential Scheme in November 2018. Space for the training hub has been provided by Lendlease and Birmingham City Council.
Anna Evans, project director, Perry Barr Residential Scheme at Lendlease, Europe, said: "Our development brings with it a wealth of opportunities for local people, both now and after completion. During construction, our site will create 400 jobs, including 100 apprenticeships, and we continue to work with local people and businesses to maximise the positive impact the scheme can have for the local community.
"Leadlease is thoroughly invested in Birmingham, and Perry Barr, and is incredibly proud to be able to offer local people the access to employment and training opportunities."
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 directly benefit from record 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 projects such as the Perry Barr regeneration scheme."
The WMCA will work alongside partners at the Birmingham City Council Employment Access Team, Lendlease, the Construction Industry Training Body (CITB), Scape, Birmingham Careers Hub, Jobcentre Plus, National Careers Service, Arcadis and Careys Plc to help maximise employment and training opportunities through the Perry Barr hub.
Kalpana Patel, regional director, National Careers Service - West Midlands including Staffordshire, said: "The National Careers Service will provide impartial careers information, advice and guidance to help local residents make informed choices about the construction career pathways available to them."
To fund the West Midlands hubs, the WMCA unlocked £2.3m from the Government's £20m Construction Skills Fund. The Fund 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.
Stephen Radley, director of strategy and policy at CITB, said: "We are proud to support the launch of the training hub at Perry Barr Residential Scheme, 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 not only do trainees learn valuable skills, they will be gaining hands-on experience that ensures they are site-ready for employment.
"Projects like the Perry Barr scheme 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."
Other hubs are set to open in Wolverhampton and Coventry. Wolves at Work has secured a hub at WV Living's The Marches housing development, on the site of the former Wednesfield High School, and the WMCA also plans to open a road construction training hub on the M6 smart motorway, between junctions 2 and 4 near Coventry.
To sign up for construction training at the Perry Barr Residential Scheme hub, 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.