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With the Government’s furlough employment support scheme ending, and the region’s economy still recovering from the shock of the coronavirus pandemic, the WMCA is stepping in with £25 million worth of training support to help unemployed people across the region get jobs.

Working with the region’s colleges and providers, the WMCA’s support will be targeted at skilling up people for roles in sectors where jobs are being created - including digital, logistics, health and social care, rail, and construction. The £25m funding includes a specific focus on jobs with good long-term prospects, such as teaching assistants, housing officers, and software developers.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said:

“We know that the coronavirus pandemic has caused great economic harm to the region and left many people out of work or fearing for their future, which is why I launched my 100,000 jobs plan earlier this year.

“Now, with the Government’s generous furlough scheme coming to an end, it is important we support those who may find themselves falling out of work through no fault of their own. That’s why the WMCA has set out this £25m support package, including jobs fairs in every borough and sector specific training in growth sectors such as digital and construction.

“It is mission critical we get people back into work following the pandemic and, working with local authorities across the West Midlands, we are doing all we can to make that happen.”

The WMCA’s £25m package will support bespoke training provision, designed with local employers, to give people the skills needed to fill record levels of job vacancies.

Schemes being funded by the WMCA include Beat the Bots digital training, SWAPS sector-specific training, construction gateway programmes, green skills courses and job fairs to take place in every borough of the West Midlands.

The support aims to build on the work that has been underway over the past year, in partnership with local authorities and the Department for Work and Pensions, which has already helped thousands of people into employment.

This includes more than 1,000 unemployed people helped into new digital jobs through the Authority’s £7 million digital bootcamp scheme - including roles with major employers like HSBC, KMPG, Gymshark, Parent Pay, Sainsbury’s, and BT.

The scheme trains unemployed people with the digital skills employers need, helping them move into new roles with starting salaries as high as £32,0000.