Employment Minister visits Dudley College’s Skills Shop to boost adults into work initiative

Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP, paid a flying visit to Dudley College’s Black Country Skills Shop in Merry Hill Shopping Centre on Thursday, on route to opening a new Jobcentre Plus office at Crossley Retail Park, Kidderminster.

At the Skills Shop she was able to meet with young adults benefiting from training delivered through the Youth Hub, who are part of the Government’s drive to get half a million people currently out of work into jobs by the end of June as part of the new ‘Way to Work’ campaign.

At the meeting with Youth Work Coaches and customers the Minister heard about the partnership working that has been taking place throughout the pandemic with DWP and Dudley College delivering Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs) for public sector roles within the Civil Service, NHS and hospitality sector. During the visit the Minister took a special interest in the mentoring programmes for young people with anxiety, which are delivered from the centre, that helps them overcome their challenges and helps to move them towards employment.

Following the visit to Dudley the Minister opened the new Job Centre in Kidderminster which will house a team of 22 Work Coaches, some of whom recently joined the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as part of the successful recruitment drive to hire 13,500 new Work Coaches across the country.

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP and Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier during a visit to the Black Country. Commenting on the day the Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said:

“We know that work brings so much positivity both financially but also from a wellbeing standpoint, which is why we’re boosting our DWP Jobcentre support and Youth Hub provision in every community in the UK, Including in Kidderminster and Dudley.

I was delighted to meet Work Coaches in Kidderminster and Dudley who are are already making a positive difference to the lives of so many individuals every day helping them to progress.

Our Way to Work campaign will accelerate this excellent work, connecting claimants in our jobcentres to opportunities out there right now and working even more closely with employers to fill their vacancies.”

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP and Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier during a visit to the Black Country.

The Youth Hub Coaches at the College’s Skills Shop are available to support all young people in the borough and individuals can approach them directly for help or ask to be referred there by Jobcentre Plus contacts. 

Black Country Colleges Declare all Systems go for Skills Accelerator Workforce Initiative

A workforce training initiative for technical skills has been launched by five Black Country colleges, with support from local industry bodies.

Skills Accelerator encourages employers to sign up their staff for free digital/IT and management and new technologies-based training, paving the way for them to access higher level training.  The initiative has been developed in response to priorities outlined in the government’s Skills for Jobs white paper for reshaping the technical skills of the local labour market and wider economy.

15 short courses will be delivered by Dudley College, Halesowen College, Sandwell College, Walsall College and City of Wolverhampton College between now and March.  Training areas include electric hybrid vehicle system and repair, intruder alarm systems, cybersecurity, website design, 3D printing and business improvement techniques.

Jacquie Carman, Skills Accelerator Project Lead and Vice Principal at Halesowen College said: “The Black Country Colleges are delighted to be working in partnership to deliver the Skills Accelerator project across our region.  We aim to encourage employers to capitalise on new ways of working aligned to their changing skills needs and labour market demand.

“We look forward to starting conversations with local businesses and delivering a selection of training designed to help them flourish in a post-pandemic, digitally-focused world.

Commenting on the new programme Neil Thomas Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Dudley College of Technology said: “The Skills Accelerator programme will allow businesses of all sizes, including sole- traders such as electricians to get free training. Training that is designed to increase their range of skills and open up new income streams for them. With delivery in short-bursts, much of which is at weekends – the flexible nature of the courses are designed to fit in with the day-to-day workload of Black Country businesses, making them attractive to local employers.”   

A launch event hosted at Walsall College was attended by representatives from the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), local councils, along with representatives from each college.

For further information about Dudley College’s offer, which includes: electric hybrid vehicle system and repair and replacement, intruder alarm systems and cable data network installation visit www.dudleycol.ac.uk/Skills-Accelerator-Programme.