Construction apprenticeship jobs fair marks Ladder Skills Academy’s first birthday

Feb 7, 2024 | News

The first anniversary of the opening of the Ladder Skills Academy was celebrated with a successful construction apprenticeship jobs fair as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

The Ladder for Greater Birmingham Construction Apprenticeship Jobs Fair, held in partnership with HS2 Ltd, was opened by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street on Monday.

The Mayor, a long time supporter of the Ladder apprenticeship campaign, was among those to take up the “have a go” sessions by trying his hand at a virtual welding session overseen by experienced trainers.

The event marked the first birthday of the Ladder Skills Academy, which opened in Mill Street, Aston, in February last year.

The multi-use space helps support education groups and unemployed people into employment and training while engaging with local businesses and training providers and offering a job match service.

Visitors can undertake a variety of have-a-go sessions in career options including health and social care, early years care, retail, hospitality, engineering, oral care, manufacturing, business and professional services, construction, IT and the digital sector.

At the National Apprenticeship Week event, the “have a go” hubs offered hands-on demonstrations and workshops and enabled visitors to try out tools and find out about techniques and technologies in a number of industries.

School and college students were able to take part in activities to better understand opportunities in a range of sectors including construction, which covered carpentry, plumbing, electrical work and project management.

There were also opportunities to have a go at early years care, oral care and dentistry, business duties, hospitality and cybersecurity.

Attendees had the chance to connect with seasoned professionals, industry leaders and representatives from renowned construction companies. They could also ask questions about career opportunities and apply for apprenticeship roles.

Exhibitors included HS2, which has recently announced 200 new apprenticeship jobs for the region, and construction companies in its supply chain. Other exhibitors included Arup, Kier, Forte, Free2Learn and Mace Dragados.

Justine Johnson, Ladder manager at Ladder for Greater Birmingham, commented: “The event provided school and college students and people of all ages with the chance to explore the multitude of possibilities within the construction sector and try out real workplace skills.

“At the Ladder Academy our aim is to help as many people as possible to gain the skills and experience they need to secure good quality jobs with local businesses.

“Apprenticeships offer hands-on experience, expert mentorship and a chance to earn while learning, so they really are a great opportunity that we want more people to know about.”

At the jobs fair, Andy Street announced a £7.5m investment in adult skills training by the West Midlands Combined Authority to get more young people into high-quality apprenticeships.

The WMCA has launched a new Path 2 Apprenticeships training programme that will provide young adults aged between 19 and 29 with the knowledge and skills they need to secure good apprenticeship jobs over the next three years.

The programme will create 3,300 training places to encourage some of the 24,110 young people across the WMCA area who are not in education, employment or training into apprenticeships.

Kevin Davis, chair of the Ladder Foundation, hosted Mr Street’s visit to show him the progress made by the Ladder Skills Academy. Kevin said: “We were delighted to have Andy Street and so many young visitors join us to celebrate the first birthday of the Ladder Skills Academy. The Ladder is built upon collaboration so it was fantastic to see so many partners be part of such a successful event.”

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