The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has smashed its original target and trained more than 7,500 unemployed people to help them take advantage of the opportunities created by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The WMCA, in partnership with Birmingham 2022, launched the Jobs and Skills Academy (JSA), two years ago with the aim of training 6,000 locals in preparation for the games.
But latest figures show that the target has been beaten by nearly 1,000 with 7,570 people receiving training to date.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the WMCA, meets with staff at SNSG at a recent Commonwealth Games event.
The WMCA has invested £5 million to train unemployed residents, helping them gain qualifications in key Games sectors such as security and stewarding, helping to grow the region’s workforce talent pool.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the WMCA, said: The “Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games this Summer, beyond being 11 exciting days of sporting spectacle, has the potential to deliver a lasting legacy for the people of the West Midlands for generations to come.
“A vital part of that legacy is what impact the Games has in terms of jobs and skills. That’s why I’m so pleased we have far exceeded our 6,000 target.
“The skills acquired through our Jobs and Skills Academy not only opens up opportunities to people during the Games, but also equips them with lifelong skills that will serve them well in the job market throughout their working lives.”
One individual that understands how vital this type of support and training can be is Tadala Tobias.
Tadala, aged 20 and from Sutton Coldfield was in one of the very first cohorts to be recruited as part of the Commonwealth Games and now works as an Events Assistant Manager.
She was supported in her application through the Birmingham Children’s Trust, who are a key JSA partner, supporting young people across the Midlands.
“When I first spoke to the team at the Birmingham Children’s Trust about working as part of the Commonwealth Games, they were brilliant, Tadala said.
“They helped me to understand what the experience would be like and how I should prepare for a role as exciting as this. They helped me update my CV and work on drafting a personal statement and gave me some brilliant interview tips.
“I secured the job and was really lucky to be one of the first few people hired for the Games with all the hard work now paying off as I have just been promoted to events assistant manager.
“We are all really looking forward to the summer and the excitement the Games will bring, it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for us all. The skills I am learning every day will prepare me for a job after the Games and for the rest of my career.”
Nicola Turner MBE, director of legacy at Birmingham 2022, said: “It is brilliant to see thousands of these training opportunities being taken up by local people.
“We set out to reach individuals who needed a boost following the pandemic, and seeing who is benefitting and hearing their stories, is the highlight of my job.
“The Games may feel the benefit in the short term but every person who's been through the Academy will take their new qualifications and experience with them, benefitting the region in the longer term."
Mercury Training are just one of the many providers who have been training local apprentices to provide the skills and knowledge in to build successful careers.
Paul Lawton Jones, Managing Director, Mercury Training Services Ltd, said: “We’re extremely proud to have played an important part in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Knowing we have helped and trained approximately 300 people to gain employment, where they will have skills they can take forward into future work and gain experiences they’ll never forget, is very special.”
Cllr George Duggins, WMCA portfolio holder for productivity and skills and leader of Coventry City Council, added: “It is fantastic to see that thousands of opportunities that are on offer throughout the Games, especially as these roles have become even more critical given the pandemic has left many people out of work and others worried about their future.”
Andrew Newman, director of workforce and volunteering at Birmingham 2022, added: “The Games will have a workforce of approximately 50,000 representing the largest mobilisation of people since the London 2012 Olympics.
“I am delighted that the Games have inspired thousands into training, much of which is aligned to the thousands of job opportunities we have connected to Birmingham 2022 both within the Organising Committee and with contractors. We are grateful that thousands of unemployed people have been able to be trained through the support of the Jobs and Skills Academy.
“These roles provide a multitude of transferable skills for those wishing to start or enhance their career ahead of them. It will be an excellent addition to anyone’s CV and a great opportunity to get involved, boost skills and help make the Games a success.”
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will see around 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories compete in 19 sports and eight para-sports across 15 competition venues between July 28 and August 8. It is expected to attract more than one million spectators to the region and have a global television audience of 1.5 billion.