Thousands of local people are to benefit from a new programme to help them land jobs created by the forthcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
As well as bringing in millions of extra pounds into the West Midlands economy, the Games are also expected to create thousands of new jobs – which the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is determined should be filled by local people.
To help make that happen, the WMCA and its partners have launched a new Commonwealth Jobs and Skills Academy, to accelerate and amplify plans to improve regional skills and employment opportunities through the Games. There will be a particular focus on supporting young people and unemployed adults.
The Academy is an umbrella brand for all employment and skills programmes linked to the Games, including:
As part of the Academy, the WMCA has allocated £1m of its devolved Adult Education Budget to fund technical skills development, helping individuals and businesses prepare for Commonwealth Games-related opportunities.
The funding will support training in leadership and management skills to help local businesses in related industries – such as hospitality, catering, events and security – to win contracts for the Games.
There will also be support for local people to gain new skills in digital marketing, event management, hospitality, team leading and sports coaching.
The £1m is the first round of new funding allocated to the Games by the WMCA, with more expected to follow to help local residents and businesses benefit from the event.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “One of the main reasons I was so determined to help secure the Commonwealth Games for the region was the employment opportunities it would create for young people across the West Midlands.
“I am therefore pleased that two years out we are already starting to put measures in place to make sure people can capitalise on these opportunities and be part of what is certain to be a generation-defining moment for our region.
“I would encourage everyone to look at the training we are making available and think about what role they would like to play not just for the Commonwealth Games, but in shaping our region for the future.
“The Games are going to be a real game-changer for our region, and we have to make sure every resident sees the benefit.”
Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Businesses from across the West Midlands could benefit from contracts worth around £300 million in total from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“In these difficult times, it’s vital that we help local people gain the skills they need to make the most of these opportunities.”
Ian Reid, Chief Executive of Birmingham 2022, said: “We know that many people and businesses trying to navigate these uncertain times are looking for new opportunities and a sense of hope. The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is far more than just a celebration of sport and culture. It will offer those opportunities and bring significant benefits that will be felt right across the city and region.
“To deliver Birmingham 2022, more than 40,000 Games time roles will be created. This means that local people can work as part of the team that delivers the biggest event the West Midlands has ever witnessed.
"This new training programme, funded through the Commonwealth Jobs and Skills Academy, will enable local people to develop their skills, so they’re ready to take full advantage of the huge variety of employment and contract opportunities that Birmingham 2022 will bring.”
The WMCA has worked with partners including Birmingham City Council, Birmingham 2022, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Education, Jobcentre Plus and the Department for Work and Pensions to set up the academy. Other local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and further education colleges have also been involved.
Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Heritage and Tourism said: “Backed by almost £600 million of government investment, the Commonwealth Games will create new opportunities in every part of the West Midlands, and provide a vital boost to the economy in the region. The Commonwealth Jobs and Skills academy will play a key role in ensuring people right across the region have the skills they need to make the most of the opportunities the Games will bring.”
The WMCA has awarded contracts worth £1m from the Adult Education Budget to the following training providers to upskill local people for the event:
Babington Business College, which will deliver training in digital marketing and team leading, resulting in Level 3 and Level 4 qualifications for unemployed and employed residents to gain skills for new or better jobs.
Bright Direction Training, which will offer bespoke career training in team leading, sports coaching, event management, and hospitality to equip learners with the skills needed to gain new or better jobs.
Mitre Group, which will offer bespoke career training in team leading, sports coaching, event management, and hospitality to equip learners with the skills needed to gain new or better jobs.
Pathway First, which will work with unemployed and low-skilled people from black and ethnic minority (BAME) communities to give them technical skills for careers in event management, digital marketing and team leading.
Anyone who would like to learn new skills can find out more about online courses funded by the WMCA at https://beta.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/productivity-and-skills/online-resources/