BUSINESSES and residents across the region are set to benefit from half a billion-pounds of investment in skills training over the next three years.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has finalised plans to allocate £515million to help people gain skills and qualifications, progress into jobs and support wider ambitions for inclusive green economic growth.
The authority say the plans will move the region closer to a more joined-up approach – bringing responsibility for more service delivery closer to the West Midlands and away from Whitehall.
This comes after the WMCA announced it trained over 135,000 people to get higher level skills and take advantage of new job opportunities across the region over the last two years.
The WMCA say despite a struggling economy due to the effects of the pandemic and other global trends, the region’s job market has stayed strong in part thanks to the WMCA’s use of their Adult Education Budget (AEB).
The WMCA uses its devolved AEB to commission local training and bootcamp providers to quickly train up people with the skills the region’s businesses need in sectors such as care, construction and security.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “As we bounce back from Covid, linking up our local talent with the plentiful opportunities on offer in industry is absolutely central to my 100k jobs plan.
“That’s why it really is such phenomenal news that our funding has been able to help train more than 135,000 people through the difficulties of the pandemic.
“Now to build on that we have a new landmark skills investment of more than half a billion pounds made possible thanks to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
“That means we can get even more people trained in the skills of the future to help them take advantage of the high-quality, well-paid jobs on offer.
“A key part of my mayoral mission is to provide routes into high-quality well-paid employment so that the young people in our region have prospects ahead to excite them and keep them and their families here in the years ahead.”
On top of this, the WMCA is also introducing a new innovation programme called Multiply, which was specifically designed to help adults in work improve their maths and offer more support for communities with financial literacy helping them to navigate through the challenges associated with cost-of-living increases.
The WMCA Board has approved for a portion of the funding from UKSPF to help local businesses grow and navigate new challenges such as digitisation and moving to net zero.