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More than 7,500 people trained in preparation for Commonwealth Games

A young woman who was homeless until recently, has landed a full-time role she loves and a permanent place to live.

Andy Street with SNSG CEO and employees

Another young man had a “depressing” time during Covid when job opportunities dried up, but is now fully trained in a long-term role.

They found success working in the security industry, due to Commonwealth Games investment.

The WMCA, in partnership with Birmingham 2022, launched the Jobs and Skills Academy (JSA), two years ago with the aim of training 6,000 locals in preparation for the games.

They have trained 7,570 people to date. Guided by work coaches based at Job Centres in the region, job-searchers are put in touch with JSA partners in various industries, including Mercury training provider.

23-year-old Rahma Nur was recently homeless, but now has a flat and a full-time position as Control Room Operator at SNSG, a Birmingham security services provider.

She said: “Throughout 2021 to 2022 I was homeless and looking for a job.

“My work coach at Selly Oak jobcentre was very friendly; she recommended so many different positions for me. I’m a night time creature, I prefer to do night shifts, so she suggested security.

“She recommended I go to Mercury training group and do the three week training with them. After that, I came in to interview for a Commonwealth position [at SNSG] and I got a permanent position at the control room.

“It’s funny because I started the contract here the same day as I got the council flat – both of them were on June 20. So on the exact same day I started both; now I have my own permanent house and I also have a permanent job.”

She was even made employee of the month after a hectic night shift manning the control desk. Her co-worker Kiaran Ivory, also 23, is a vetting officer at the same company.

The shop he used to work in closed prior to Covid, and the onset of the pandemic made job-hunting difficult. He was forced to live off savings and help from his mum.

He said: “It was depressing. But I knew a lot of other people going through similar situations during that time, losing their jobs or struggling just to find work in the first place.

“So I found some kind of comfort in the fact that other people were in the same situation. So I didn’t feel like it was something that I lacked myself.”

Kiaran was also trained up by Mercury, and from there found out about SNSG, via his work coach at the job centre. The WMCA has invested £5 million to train unemployed residents, helping them gain qualifications in key Games sectors such as security and stewarding, helping to grow the region’s workforce talent pool.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the WMCA, said: “The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games this Summer, beyond being 11 exciting days of sporting spectacle, has the potential to deliver a lasting legacy for the people of the West Midlands for generations to come.

Nicola Turner MBE, director of legacy at Birmingham 2022, said: “It is brilliant to see thousands of these training opportunities being taken up by local people.”

Paul Lawton Jones, Managing Director, Mercury Training Services Ltd, said: “We’re extremely proud to have played an important part in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”

CEO of SNSG, Otis Hanley, said: “We are delighted to be the exclusive stewarding provider to Sandwell Aquatics Centre, following the successful contract award by Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. We are delighted to provide our new recruits the opportunity to upskill via various training programmes in order to access their full potential, retaining local employment in line with both SNSG and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games legacy programme.”

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