West Midlands Metro has joined forces with two local colleges to drive an initiative to equip people with the skills needed to apply for jobs created by the future expansion of the tramway.
Aimed at the long-term unemployed, the Sector Based Work Academy also has the backing of local job centres, and the first cohort of students from Dudley College recently paid a visit to the tram depot in Wednesbury.
During the tour they were given a taste of what it’s like to work in the light rail sector and an insight into the day-to-day operations of a busy tram network.
Carl Williams, Director of Operations at West Midlands Metro, explained: “Our plans for future growth are already creating a number of career opportunities across the business.
“The programme has been developed alongside our ongoing recruitment of Driver Customer Services Representatives and we’re looking for a number of specific skills.”
Working closely with the tram, Dudley College and City of Wolverhampton College have developed the four-week academy programme that includes IT training, help with literacy and numeracy, customer service, various aspects of health and safety, including road safety and developing important employability skills such as producing a CV and interview performance.
Claire Scrimshire, Head of HR at West Midlands Metro, said: “Delivered by GTG Training, the programme is matched to actual vacancies that’ll become available over the coming months and also covers customer service, diversity awareness and first aid – essential skills for anyone working on the Metro.”
During the visit to the depot, around 15 students from Dudley College also had the opportunity to test their driving ability on a state-of-the-art tram simulator.
Neil Thomas, College Principal Dudley of Technology commented: “We are delighted to be working with West Midlands Metro to provide the trained work force they need to be able to deliver the new tramway. The investment in transport infrastructure is a vital part of driving economic growth and boosting job opportunities across the region, something we are pleased to be playing a part in.”
Shortly after the visit, number of students from City of Wolverhampton College also toured the depot to try their hand on the simulator during a day of work-related activities.
Lorna Prosser, Adults Community and Employability Manager at City of Wolverhampton College added: “Through joint working between Midland Metro Limited and local partners this city team approach is giving local people the opportunity to develop specific skills and knowledge that will enable them to apply for jobs with the organisation.”