FURTHER education colleges across the West Midlands have joined forces to help get local people who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic back into work.
More than 5,000 adults are set to benefit from free training over the next year in a major new programme, funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority, to help them gain jobs in one of the region’s growth sectors.
In the first initiative of its kind in the country, all 20 of the region’s colleges have pooled their expertise to offer a skills recovery programme called ‘Reignite Your Future’.
Any adult living in the West Midlands can join short sector-based work academy programmes, which usually last up to six weeks.
Sectors include construction, digital, health and social care, engineering and logistics, with a guaranteed interview for everyone who completes the course.
All the courses are free of charge, and unemployed residents can take part without losing their benefits.
Those who successfully gain jobs could also be eligible for Workwise travel support of half-price travel on selected West Midlands bus, train and metro travel passes for three months to help them on their way to work, from West Midlands Network.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, who launched the initiative at a virtual event with all the colleges, hosted by Solihull College and University Centre, said: “Retraining and upskilling are critical to our region’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s great that all 20 colleges across the region are working together to help get local people into the jobs of the future. I would urge anyone who has fallen out of work, is worried about their job prospects or just wants to increase their skills, to think about retraining for a new career.”
After losing her job, Iman Khan, aged 28, took up the opportunity to learn new skills as part of a programme with RMF Construction in Solihull.
She said: “In these difficult times, I wanted to gain more training and this programme has allowed me to pursue my passion.
“They have an incredible team of trainers and the facilities are absolutely amazing.
“I want to be a good influence and role model to my daughter and any women looking to get into construction.”
Iman will soon start a new job as a plant operative/groundworker.
For further information visit www.collegeswestmidlands.org.uk/reigniteyourfuture