Adult learners train-ing pays off


With the next phase of the West Midlands Metro extension set to launch in 2024, adult learners at Dudley College of Technology’s Black Country Skills Shop have been working hard to secure employment within the organisation.

By working closely with Claire Scrimshire; Head of HR and Organisational Development at West Midlands Metro (WMM), learners have undertaken a programme of training designed to give unemployed adults the opportunity to move into job roles with the WMM.

The Black Country Skills Shop team recently caught up with two successful learners. Shamara Parkes and Chris Bruce, who successfully completed the ‘Into Employment’ training programme to become Tram Drivers on the West Midlands Metro network, undergoing bespoke training in preparation for the intensive psychometric evaluations and assessments needed to gain the role.

Speaking about her experience, Shamara (aged 39) said: “I was made redundant a while ago, but then I heard about the Midlands Metro course with the Skills Shops and decided to enrol. It was hard getting back into the classroom again, but I received great support from my lecturer. Everything we researched in class related to the actual job role and helped me through my interview.”

Chris (aged 58) expressed similar sentiments: “I felt my skillset was outdated and I wasn’t as confident as I used to be, but once I enrolled onto the “Into Employment” training programme, I learned about customer service, health and safety and how to work as a team. I enjoyed the course from start to finish and it was a great opportunity to update my skills. Securing a role as driver is very exciting to me, it’s a boyhood dream – 6-year-old me is running around the room screaming!”

Speaking on the success of this cohort, Claire Scrimshire said “I just wanted to say a big thank you for the programme, we have had 9 suitable candidates”

Shamara and Chris were trained and mentored by Marek, who also started his journey with Dudley College Of Technology. Marek was a student of ESOL over 10 years ago, before moving into employment with West Midlands Metro and developing his career with their support.

As of December 2023, the two are now driving on the mainline with minders.

Through the ‘Into Employment’ programme, the Black Country Skills Shop have supported 16 learners since August 2023, with 11 going on to gain roles with West Midland Metro.

With this phase of the expansion, 50 drivers will be needed to join.

Anyone wishing to join a SWAP or employers looking to fill vacancies should contact Black Country Skills Shop team on 01384 363790.


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