Twenty-two people from Chelmsley Wood have all landed jobs with support service company Amey, thanks to a community scheme funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to give jobseekers new skills.
This is part of the WMCA’s wider aims of supporting local people to gain qualifications or retrain, helping them to succeed as productive members of society.
Following training funded through the WMCA’s Connecting Communities programme, the residents are either helping to carry out household bin collections in Solihull, or maintaining green public spaces, such as parks, roundabouts and verges, across the borough.
James Clinton, one of the 22 Chelmsley Wood residents who has landed a new job with Amey
Connecting Communities gives local jobseekers tailored job advice and specialist support in the heart of their own community. In Chelmsley Wood, it is being delivered by the Colebridge Trust, a not-for-profit community and enterprise development organisation, at the Junction in Chapelhouse Road.
With funding from the WMCA, the Colebridge Trust identified 60 candidates for the jobs at Amey, arranged information sessions and interviews for them at the Junction with the company, and trained the residents to prepare them for the interviews.
Cllr Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council, said: “Although these are very difficult times, there are still job opportunities out there. One of our key priorities in rebuilding the economy after Covid-19 is to make sure those people who are unemployed get back into work.
“It’s great news that 22 local people have been able to get new jobs with Amey through the Connecting Communities programme. I wish them every success for the future.”
James Clinton, aged 33, who lives in Solihull, was unemployed for more than two years before landing a job as a ground worker with Amey.
“I’m loving my new job and I feel that Connecting Communities really helped me to build my confidence and believe in my abilities,” he said.
Serena Sale, employment and skills manager at the Colebridge Trust, said: “We are very proud of our learners. It’s been great to see them grow in confidence through the interview process.
“We are continuing to support those who were unsuccessful by coaching them to apply for other work and helping them with employability skills.”
Wayne Rowley, Amey operations manager for transport infrastructure in Solihull, said: “Thanks to funding from the WMCA, we have been working with the Colebridge Trust to recruit local unemployed people for three years now. The quality of the candidates is always very high and gets better every year. We look forward to working with the Trust again when we have more vacancies to fill.”
Cllr George Duggins, WMCA portfolio holder for productivity and skills and leader of Coventry City Council, said: “It’s crucial that our economic recovery from Covid-19 is inclusive and works for everyone. This is a great example of the WMCA helping local unemployed people back into work during this challenging time.”
Connecting Communities is funded by the WMCA using a grant from the Department for Work and Pensions, as part of the wider transfer of powers and funding from Whitehall to the West Midlands.
This devolution of powers has helped to facilitate new ways of working with skills and training providers to better support the needs of learners and employers across the region. The autonomy and experience has helped the West Midlands ensure it has the skills base it needs to succeed, increase overall employment and productivity, drive growth in key sectors, and achieve its wider economic and social priorities for the region.
There are nine programmes in communities across the West Midlands where unemployment is high and pay levels are low. Over the past year, more than 500 people have gained new jobs thanks to support from Connecting Communities.
The location-based support is aimed at making it easier to engage with local residents and encouraging the communities themselves to use their existing social networks to spread the word about the help available.
To find out more about Connecting Communities in Chelmsley Wood, visit https://colebridge.org/ or call 0121 448 0720.