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18 Apr 2019

New construction training hub to help unemployed

Wolves at Work employment programme has secured a new £100,000 sub-regional construction training hub in the city to help hundreds of unemployed residents get into work.

It will be based at WV Living’s ‘The Marches’ housing development on the site of the former Wednesfield High School and will be run in partnership with contractors Willmott Dixon and City of Wolverhampton College.

The funding comes from West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) after it announced in November it had unlocked £2.3m from the Government’s Construction Skills Fund, to be delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) for the creation of a series of regional training hubs.

The Marches will see 266 homes developed on site, with the training hub set to start next month.

Richard Lawrence, City of Wolverhampton Council Director of Regeneration, said: “There are billions of pounds of investment on site or in the pipeline in the City of Wolverhampton and it is important residents benefit from this.

“This training hub will give unemployed people in our city a clear route into the booming construction industry, delivering long-lasting benefits to the local community beyond the build phase.

“It will help boost local business and skills, adding to the pace of regeneration in the city while at the same time delivering WV Living homes people will love.”

Simon Liversage, Director for Willmott Dixon in the Midlands, added: “At Willmott Dixon, we believe we have a purpose beyond profit and that includes leaving a lasting positive legacy in the areas where we work.

“Over the duration of The Marches project we have committed to investing ten per cent back into the local community, equating to a monetary value of £3.5m, which will see us provide apprenticeships, work experience and NVQs to local people, as well as ensuring at least 80 per cent of local spend and labour is within ten miles of the site.”

It is hoped a significant proportion of those accessing training at the regional hubs will be from groups currently under-represented in the construction industry, including women and ethnic minorities.

The hubs will advertise live job vacancies, which local people can apply for, with the aim that at least 50 per cent of those receiving training secure long-term employment.

The Wolves at Work employment programme, run by City of Wolverhampton Council and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), has already helped more than 4,000 people into work since being established in early 2017. The WMCA worked in partnership with Wolves and Work and CITB to fund the Wolverhampton hub.

Dr Julie Nugent, Director of Productivity and Skills at WMCA, said: “These training hubs will provide on-site training for local people wanting to get great jobs in the construction industry. It’s a great way to link local people to job opportunities created by investment on their doorstep.

“By training in a real working environment, local people can get first-hand experience of what it’s like to work in construction, helping to build real homes for real people in Wolverhampton. We look forward to seeing many people getting great careers through this training.

”Stephen Radley, Director of Strategy and Policy at CITB, added: “We are delighted to support the launch of the WMCA hub which will give more people the opportunity to start a career in construction. The training hub is one of 26 new on-site training hubs created by the Construction Skills Fund, which brings together employers and public funding to give high quality, onsite work experience to learners from many different backgrounds.

“The hub based at The Marches is an exciting opportunity both for local people to join the industry and for local construction firms who need skilled candidates. The hub aims to give over 800 local people the chance to train in the most needed skills, with a focus on attracting candidates from groups currently underrepresented in construction.

“This project is a step in the right direction to ensure our industry has the highly skilled workforce it needs.”

Anyone interested in opportunities at the Marches training hub should email recruitment@wolverhampton.gov.uk

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