A PLAN to help plug the region’s skills gap in advanced manufacturing and engineering (AME) and get more people working in the sector has been launched by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
The AME sector is worth more than £16 billion to the region – around 15 per cent of its total economy – providing around 200,000 jobs.
But there are currently 7,000 job vacancies.
The West Midlands Regional Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering Training Plan sets out how the WMCA intends to address that shortfall, improve productivity and drive further growth by working with colleges, universities, and training providers to improve the range of sector-specific training available, and the flexibility of how it is delivered.
To deliver the plan’s aims, the WMCA will increase the proportion of its devolved Adult Education budget for AME training and qualifications by £1.4 million.
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street said: “Engineering and manufacturing remain real strong suits for us here in the West Midlands and represent important sectors of our region’s economy. Handled correctly, these sectors still have tremendous growth potential provided we continue to closely collaborate with – and meet the needs of – local employers in the months and years ahead.
“I’m looking forward to opening up this training to many more local people, creating a pipeline of new talent and preparing our existing workforce for the future – all of which will help to change lives for the better and improve quality of life for local residents.”
Coun George Duggins, WMCA portfolio holder for skills and productivity, and leader of Coventry City Council, said: “It is a fundamental part of our Adult Education strategy to bridge the skills gap and increase opportunities for local people.
“We want to deliver a better match between the skills of the people in our region and the current and future needs of our manufacturing and engineering businesses to help accelerate productivity and deliver economic growth.”