Grey Star

BCTG invests in new ‘have-a-go’ skills academy in Birmingham

West Midlands mayor Andy Street has underlined the regional authority’s commitment to supporting apprenticeships as he opened the new Ladder Skills Academy in Birmingham.

The new Academy offers young people the opportunity to have a go at a variety of careers, gaining experience in construction, modern manufacturing, digital technology, dentistry, retail, childcare, and healthcare.

The Academy has been established by the Ladder Foundation with funding from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and match funding supplied by BCTG, the Midlands-based training group.

Mayor Andy Street said: “This is exactly what I want to see. “It is very timely, coming in National Apprenticeship Week, as we are seeing the number of apprenticeships increasing quite dramatically.”

Andy Street’s commitment to apprenticeships has already seen his levy transfer scheme raise £40 million from unspent training funds to support the creation of 3,000 apprentices alongside West Midlands SMEs.

He took the opportunity to talk to tutors and apprentices manning several of the “have a go” stands, as well as visiting an apprenticeship jobs fair on the first floor of the Trent Education building, in Mill Street.

Rob Colbourne, chief executive of PTP, part of BCTG Group, was one of the founding members of the region’s Ladder apprenticeship network.

He said: “This have-a-go hub provides young people with the opportunity to experience a working environment and the jobs carried out in a wide range of sectors before they decide on their future career.

“Chris Luty, the chief executive of BCTG, has committed £100,000 to match funding the equipment and operational costs of the Academy, so people can get a real flavour of the world of work.

“We are also being provided with a room at the Birmingham Central Library, by Birmingham City Council, as well as support from companies like AF Blakemore & Son, the Metropolis training restaurant, Angels Day Nursery and many others.

“Our plan is to open more hubs like this, in the Black Country and Staffordshire. There’s nothing else like this, offering people choice and unbiased information and guidance on potential careers, and we are delighted to have the support of the West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street.”

Alongside Mr Street’s tour, the Academy was visited throughout the day by Year 11 and 13 students, who had the opportunity to undertake a variety of have-a-go sessions, which also included hospitality, engineering, business and professional services.

Kevin Davis, chair of the Ladder Foundation, said: “The Ladder Skills Academy will form part of the Ladder Legacy in Birmingham, working with over 70 partners including independent training providers, colleges, universities, and employers.

“We will be providing a one-stop shop focussing on supporting individuals and especially young people aged between 16 to 29. We are working to raise aspirations, offering independent and appropriate information and guidance to develop the next generation of skilled workers, leaders, and entrepreneurs.