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Mayor celebrates the success of higher skills learners across the region

Health and Social Care students Luke Ryder and Leighanna Williamson join Dudley College CEO and Principal, Neil Thomas and Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street on his visit to the college. Photography by students James Hibberd and Jack Hinton.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street visited Dudley College of Technology today to celebrate the region’s success in growing the number of learners on higher level skills courses including engineering, construction retrofitting, and health and social care.

The Mayor said: “Sadly, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has left many people out of work or uncertain about their future.

“We know there are jobs in sectors including construction, digital, and health and social care – but local people need the right skills to land these jobs. Devolved adult education funding means we’re able to equip residents with the skills needed to do exactly that.

“We’re also enabling employers to upskill their workforce for new ways of working, such as retrofitting houses to make them more environmentally friendly and help the region to achieve its zero-carbon target by 2041.

“I would like to thank Dudley College of Technology and all the other further education providers in our region for their dedicated work to help give local people a brighter future.”

The Mayor also met several local employers who are currently supporting apprentices to achieve Level 3 qualifications.

The WMCA has received a further £9.2m from the National Skills Fund to support more people to take up Level 3 qualifications – this is a welcome cash boost and colleges are stepping up to increase their offer.

Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council and the WMCA portfolio holder for productivity and skills, said: “The region’s young population, its excellent connectivity and strengths in key sectors such as construction and digital all provide the right ingredients for growth.

"We’re proud to be working in partnership with our local colleges to help residents get qualifications, retrain and find new jobs as a result.”

Neil Thomas, chief executive and principal of Dudley College of Technology, said: “The ability the devolved authority now has to fund training that is most needed in the regional economy allows us to deliver even more programmes at Level 3.

"This in turn means that more West Midlands residents will have higher level skills most in demand by employers and will be able to move to further courses at universities, in further education or at the new Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology.

"The flexibility the WMCA is using will allow us to fill the skills gaps in sectors such as health and engineering, where employment is forecast to grow steeply in the next decade.”

Skills for Growth launch