Secretary of State for Education launches the West Midlands Skills deal

Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor, Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education and Lowell Williams CEO of Dudley College of Technology launch the new regional skills deal.

Lowell Williams Chief Executive Officer of Dudley College of Technology and Chair of the Board of Dudley Academies Trust today welcomed Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP – Secretary of State for Education and Andy Street West Midlands Mayor to the college for the launch of the West Midlands skills deal.

During the event The Minister announced a £69 million investment to address long-term skills shortages in the region. The skills deal which has been agreed with the West Midlands Combined Authority will boost digital and technical skills, job opportunities and fund the creation of new apprenticeships, the West Midlands Careers hub and provide investment for the £5million National Retraining Scheme (NRS) pilot to drive adult learning.

During the visit Damian Hinds met with employers and spoke about the challenges they face in recruiting and retaining the right people. With low unemployment across the West Midlands and more demand from businesses all wanting to recruit the very best people, he described the regional economy as a “competitive market” but pledged the skills deal would support both large and small businesses through the new funding; developing the West Midlands economy and driving local growth.

Commenting on the regional economy he said: “The West Midlands is the engine of our thriving economy, but we want to make sure even more local people have the skills they need to get on in life, while also boosting the region’s productivity and technical expertise.

“This new skills deal will provide the right investment so that both young people and adults have the chance to learn, upskill, retrain and take advantage of the range of exciting jobs in areas such as construction, cyber security and digital technology.

Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP meets staff and students in Dudley College’s Advance II building and experiences a virtual reality environment which is used in building design.

“By supporting apprenticeships in small and medium sized businesses, more people will be able to earn and learn and the focus on digital and technical skills, which are both in high demand, will help people to get the skills they need to get the jobs of tomorrow.”

Welcoming the investment Lowell Williams said: “It’s important that government is recognising the critical role of technical education in delivering the trained workforce the economy needs. We are pleased to be at the forefront of new developments such as T levels and we hope to further address the skills deficit in the region by securing investment in a Dudley College lead Institute of Technology later in the year.”