6th Jul, 2022

Former homeless men land jobs building HS2 station

John Carlon 28th Jan, 2020

FIVE formerly homeless people have started work building infrastructure across the West Midlands, passing a training programme funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The WMCA joined forces with homelessness charity Crisis, training provider RMF Construction and employer L Lynch Plant Hire in a pilot scheme to help some of the most vulnerable people in society.

All the learners, who are being supported in temporary accommodation in Birmingham after becoming homeless, were referred by Crisis to the WMCA’s Construction Gateway programme, which is delivered by local training companies.

After an intensive six-week course at RMF Construction’s academy in Hollywood, Birmingham, covering topics such as site safety and how to operate a range of machinery, the group have secured new jobs at Lynch.

They will be working on major projects across the region, including the HS2 station site at Curzon Street.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The construction industry in the West Midlands will need 50,000 more trained staff by 2030, and so we must make sure local people have the skills to fill these jobs.

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to take five people out of the vicious circle of homelessness and unemployment by giving them a new start in construction.

“The Construction Gateway is a great example of the WMCA working in partnership with the industry and Crisis to give some of our most disadvantaged local people the opportunity of a worthwhile job and a good home.

“I’d like to thank Lynch for offering these fantastic opportunities to improve people’s lives, and I hope many more employers will follow their example.”

So far, 1,403 people have been through Construction Gateway training since summer 2018, with 627 people having successfully moved into employment after completing the course.

Coun George Duggins, WMCA portfolio holder for skills and leader of Coventry City Council, said: “The construction industry is facing a critical skills shortage. We need to help more people learn the right skills to work in the sector, and the Construction Gateway is doing exactly that. It’s great to see homeless people benefiting from these new opportunities.”

Matthew Green, director of Crisis’ Skylight Centre in Birmingham, said: “As a society, we must make sure people have the right tools to be able to end their homelessness, and employment is an important aspect of this. Our Crisis Employment Services help people prepare for, find and sustain work.

“We would like to thank Lynch for providing sustainable training and employment opportunities to our members that will allow them to become financially secure. This initiative shows what collaborative working can do for some of the most vulnerable people in society and how it can change lives for the better.

“We hope this is the beginning of a successful partnership and that we can continue to work together to provide more opportunities to help people leave homelessness for good.”

To sign up for construction training, speak to a JobCentre adviser or contact the National Careers Service West Midlands on 0121 296 5550.

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