GBSLEP will deliver the funding to enable leading multi-organisation champion for apprenticeships the Ladder for Greater Birmingham to create a further 1000 apprentice starts in the Birmingham and Solihull region.
Henriette Breukelaar, Chief Executive of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), said: “As an employer-led organisation our skills strategy has always worked to provide a pipeline of training to match the needs of local and regional employers.
“Our investment for the next phase of the Ladder for Greater Birmingham will help people of all ages looking to gain the skills and experience they need to secure good quality jobs with local businesses.
“The Ladder for Greater Birmingham has been a key to the delivery of GBSLEP’s strategy to drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Having a skilled workforce will help local employers survive and thrive in the harsh economic climate.”
The fourth cash contribution by GBSLEP has been approved to build upon the impact of the Ladder’s work to date, which has already seen 3000 apprenticeship starts.
Among those to start their career with the Ladder is Honey Warner, 17, who is nearing the end of her customer service level 2 apprenticeship. She says: “Doing an apprenticeship has been amazing for my confidence and given me options for my career. When I started I was nervous and shy so having developed new skills in a working environment has really benefitted me.”
The extension of GBSLEP support will help the Ladder tackle local employment needs, including those currently faced by young people, following a decline in apprenticeship starts in the Birmingham and Solihull region since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The announcement was made at the opening of the new Ladder Skills Academy in Birmingham, which had received £273,000 of funding through the GBSLEP Recycled Growing Places Fund.
The Ladder Skills Academy, one of 11 projects to help young people or lower carbon usage to receive a GBSLEP grant, will operate as a multi-use space for businesses and individuals focusing on supporting unemployed people into employment and training, engaging local businesses and providing a job matching service.
Successful Ladder campaigns in the Black Country, Staffordshire and Shropshire led to the launch of the Greater Birmingham campaign, with GBSLEP providing significant year-on-year investment to create apprenticeship starts since 2018.
Ladder Foundation Chairman Kevin Davis said: “Having enjoyed the support of GBSLEP since the Ladder for Greater Birmingham and Solihull was launched, we are delighted they have agreed to fund the next phase of our work creating opportunities for employment and training.
“Like us, the GBSLEP recognise the step up which apprenticeships can make on the ladder of opportunity for people young and old. Building on the opening of the new Skills Academy, which the GBSLEP has helped to fund, the Ladder can work towards our shared mission of increasing the quality of life for all their residents.”
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street joined the official opening of the Ladder Skills Academy, which allows visitors to 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, plus IT and digital.
The Academy project has been funded by GBSLEP through its £3 million Recycled Growing Places Fund which is delivering projects to support young people and clean growth towards net zero targets across the region, with match funding supplied by BCTG Group.