A new training hub has opened in the Midlands with the aim of tackling a construction skills shortage and offer a route into work on a £67m Birmingham development.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has funded the Construction Gateway programme which will help find workers for the huge 3 Arena Central development at Chamberlain Square.
Work in the wider development is currently underway, and will lead to the creation of 240,000 square feet of employment space over 14 floors.
The new programme will offer free, expert construction training and a guaranteed job interview at the end of its 20-day course.
It will offer 50 new jobs over the next 12 months, and intends to help plug a gap in the skills available to employers in the construction industry as well as supporting the 3 Arena Central development.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “We know new opportunities for up to 100,000 trained workers are set to open up in the construction industry over the next ten years.
“Through our Construction Gateway programme, we are equipping local people with the skills that the industry urgently needs to fill these jobs.
“This new training hub in Birmingham will help unemployed people to learn new construction skills for free, get real-world experience and have a guaranteed job interview at the end of their course.”
Birmingham city councillor Sir Albert Bore opened the hub, and said: “There is so much construction work happening now to transform the city centre and to prepare for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and it’s crucial that our residents benefit.
“I’m very pleased that this training hub is helping to give local people new skills for a new career.”
The new project has been welcomed by senior figures in the region’s construction trade.
David Bowdley, Operations Director at Galliford Try, said: “Increasing the number of people involved in construction is a vital part of our mission as a business. People are the biggest asset for any construction business and having a diverse workforce only makes that contribution stronger.
“We are delighted to be part of this innovative programme, exposing candidates from all communities to a range of careers in the industry and helping them gain recognised qualifications. We hope that it inspires them to start a new career in construction.”