New Dudley training centre aims to bridge construction worker shortfall
A new construction centre has been launched in the Black Country to train workers for major projects such as HS2 and the Midland Metro.
Dudley College's construction plant training centre in Brierley Hill aims to help unemployed people start a new career in industry, offering free plant operator and grounds worker training in a range of qualifications.
It has being funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and runs with the support of local businesses and the Job Centre, and is bidding to help meet a regional shortfall of 50,000 construction staff by the end of the decade.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, said: "It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to help Dudley College of Technology give local residents the practical experience and qualifications they need to get the best possible start for a career in construction.
"We know the construction industry in the West Midlands will need 50,000 more trained staff by 2030, but there is a shortage of people with the right skills to fill these jobs.
"This investment in training shows our commitment to addressing the skills gap and giving our residents the opportunity to work on projects in their local area."
The centre is set to take on 200 learners by July, all of whom are guaranteed a job interview at the end of the course.
Out of the first group of 15 that completed the course before Christmas, 12 are expected to be in full time employment by the end of the month.
Neil Thomas, chief executive and principal at Dudley College of Technology, said: "Construction training is a flagship element of the college’s provision, with hundreds of people undertaking training each year, and this new centre adds to the £20 million investment we have already made in facilities for this important sector.
"By training local people, we can make sure they benefit from the many infrastructure developments taking place in the region, while also contributing to the visible transformation of their area."
Cathy Taylor, a business development manager at the Department for Work and Pensions, said: "It's about people from local job centres being able to access fantastic local training that they can take forward into a job.
"Demand is rising all the time. There are so many opportunities out there, from new housing estates, to the Midland Metro, HS2 and the Commonwealth Games.
"It is vital that we upskill our workforce."
Training is provided in four key areas: plant operations; groundworks and highways; logistics; and health and safety, while scaffolding and construction vehicle training are also available.
For details call 0121 296 5550, or visit nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk