Express & Star

'I missed out on education as a teenage carer for my mother - I did this course to make her proud'

A man who missed out on formal education because he bravely became a full-time carer for his mother as a teen has welcomed plans by the new West Midlands Mayor to tackle unemployment.

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The new plan announced on Wednesday by Richard Parker sets out the offer to young people to ensure they have the best possible start to their working lives through meaningful advice, support services and pathways, in addition to a commitment to creating 20,000 new work experience, training placements and apprenticeships by working with partners and businesses across the region.

The flagship plan will include pre-employment training, dedicated work coach support, fully-funded training to help young people develop skills for work and access to mental and physical health support hubs.

The Mayor shared this first phase of his plan on a regional level to align with national government’s youth guarantee, at the Learning and Work Institutes’ Employment and Skills Convention held at Eastside Rooms in Birmingham.

The plans have been praised by two young people who had gone through adult learning and had journeys to get to their new careers.

Jake Collins from West Bromwich had missed out on getting a formal education after having to be a full-time carer for his mother from the age of 13 to her death when he was 20.

Having left school with just one GCSE, the 21-year-old was encouraged by the Jobcentre to join a Sector-Based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) with training at Sandwell College, which led to him securing a full-time role as ward service officer at Sandwell Hospital.

His success was acknowledged by the Mayor last week, when he won an Adult Learning Award for Step into Learning after being nominated by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.

He said adult learning had been a real boost for him and that he hoped many other people could find their chosen paths through the Mayor's new plan.

He said: "I did this course because I wanted to do something with my life and make my mum proud.