Hundreds of adults will benefit from better skills and jobs thanks to a £3.5m training boost in the West Midlands to help them make the most of opportunities across the region, such as those provided by Coventry City of Culture 2021.
The WMCA’s investment through the devolved £126m adult education budget (AEB) means unemployed people and those in low-paid jobs will have the chance to gain vital skills for jobs in the region’s fastest-growing industries.
The WMCA has now launched its second round of procurement, which includes £500,000 for Coventry City of Culture 2021, focusing on creative, digital and tourism, where providers will be working in communities across the city to engage local people in learning activities.
Unemployed Coventry adults of all ages will benefit from tailored taster sessions to increase their confidence and boost their personal development, with opportunities for volunteering, apprenticeships and event-based jobs.
The development delivered through these programmes will give participants the skills to compete for jobs created as a result of the City of Culture. The closing date for applications is Monday 2 March.
The WMCA is inviting training providers to tender for this activity, and for other work across the West Midlands to help unemployed adults and those with low-paid jobs to upskill and get better jobs, including through the Commonwealth Games.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Coventry City of Culture 2021 is a brilliant opportunity for local people to gain new skills.
“We want everyone in the region to benefit from our fastest-growing sectors, but we know that some communities have been left behind because they don’t have the skills needed for the jobs that are available.
“By taking control of the adult education budget, we’re helping to get more unemployed people into work, provide free training for low earners, and upskill thousands so they can get even better jobs and earn more money.”
Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “It’s great news that the WMCA has committed £500,000 to help local residents gain access to new opportunities arising from our year as City of Culture.
“This support will be targeted at those people from the city who are not working and are least likely to have access to the programmes we will be running.
“One of the potential opportunities is the “city hosts” programme - a crew of 5,000 individuals trained to provide the best possible welcome to the city for visitors, in addition to apprenticeships and events-related jobs across the city in hospitality, production, sales and customer service.”
The £500,000 training boost is in addition to the £31m funding package from the WMCA to enhance and improve Coventry city centre as part of the preparations for 2021.
Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council and WMCA portfolio holder for productivity and skills, said: “I’m delighted that the WMCA is investing in training local people as part of the City of Culture.
“We are looking forward to a wonderful year for our city, but we must ensure that all our communities benefit in the long term from the events and activities.
“We know our creative, digital and tourism sectors are growing rapidly, and we want everyone who lives here to have the chance to share in the new job opportunities coming to Coventry.”
The WMCA is holding two ‘meet the buyer’ style events on Wednesday 12 February where providers can ask questions and find out more about the tendering process. For more information, visit https://www.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/productivity-skills/adult-education-budget/adult-education-budget-procurement-round-two/