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12 Jul 2021

Thousands of local people learn skills to start new careers in green technology

Thousands of residents and businesses will benefit from new green skills and qualifications – thanks to funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Achieving the ambition to be carbon neutral by 2041 is a huge challenge, and the WMCA is using its £130m adult education budget to make sure local people have the skills needed to benefit from the green industrial revolution.

The WMCA has just announced funding to extend green skills courses to Birmingham colleges, for both local unemployed people and those with jobs who are seeking to upskill.

The cost of higher level training is usually met by employers and individuals but the WMCA is using a portion of its funds to offer this free of charge to groups of residents.

Now that one in four cars sold are electric or hybrid, the training includes supporting people to gain skills in electric vehicle maintenance. Courses are running for adults in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Coventry and Warwickshire; and residents of Birmingham and Dudley are learning how to install vehicle charging points.

Other green skills include retrofitting people’s homes to make them more environmentally friendly, with BMet, Dudley, Solihull, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire colleges and the Black Country Training Group training unemployed people to secure jobs.

This support is enabling residents to be ready to take advantage of the new jobs that are on their way to the region.

Tomorrow, the WMCA and UK100 will be co-hosting the International Net Zero Local Leadership Conference, where national and international experts will be coming together to discuss how regions can achieve net zero.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

“As the home of Britain’s Green Industrial Revolution, the West Midlands is set to create tens of thousands of jobs in the coming years as we work towards our #WM2041 plan to tackle the climate emergency. More than 21,000 jobs could be created in new green industries across all our economic sectors in our region over the next five years, and 92,000 by 2041.

“It is therefore absolutely critical that we get local people the skills they need to move into these jobs – particularly at a time when many have been left out of work or are fearing for their future because of the pandemic.

“From skilled electric vehicle mechanics as the Government bans the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, to heating engineers as more than 240,000 homes need retrofitting across the West Midlands, the WMCA will work with its partners to get people trained and into work.”

Pat Carvalho, Principal and CEO at BMet, said:

“We are really pleased that we will be launching an Electric Vehicle Charging Installation course later this summer – we are a forward-thinking college and this fits with our ethos of being able to ensure we equip our students with the skills and qualifications they need to be able to compete for, and secure, work in a competitive market.

“It is also good to know that we are helping our students and teachers to play their part in contributing to an eco-friendly world.”

To find out how the WMCA is helping local people gain access to these training opportunities, visit https://beta.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/productivity-and-skills or contact your local further education college.

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