Photograph shows: Erdington student, Luke Forster, 16, demonstrates brick placing skills to Jack Dromey MP and BMet Principal, Andrew Cleaves
Erdington MP, Jack Dromey officially opened Birmingham Metropolitan College’s (BMet) Erdington Skills Centre, which has been the focus of major development, allowing it to increase the education and training opportunities available across the area.
The building has undergone a £4 million refurbishment, of which £1.33 million has been grant funded by the Skills Funding Agency. Already well-established as a centre specialising in the delivery of construction courses for school leavers and job seekers, the expansion will provide an even wider offering of learning opportunities for adults, with more part-time courses in basic construction trades, including painting and decorating, plastering, tiling, brickwork, gas and plumbing. Functional Skills maths, English and English-speaking courses will also be available.
The Centre’s biggest and most innovative workshop area is named The Jack Dromey Construction Suite in recognition of the MP’s sterling efforts to help education providers deliver skills training to both young people and adults to meet the needs of the local economy.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Dromey commented: “I’m delighted to have worked closely with BMet to bring about this investment in skills. The Erdington Skills Centre will provide a ladder of opportunity for local people.
“The construction industry is incredibly important to our regional economy and we need more young people and adults to take advantage of the facilities and learning opportunities, now available on their doorstep. The centre is in a prime location to work with expanding construction businesses both in Birmingham and across the region.”
With the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) calling for a significant rise in the number of construction Apprenticeships in order to support the UK’s wider house-building aspirations, BMet is providing a viable solution to this skills shortage and helping to future proof the industry. The college’s links with a range of employers will be used to provide suitable training, Apprenticeship and work opportunities for students at the centre.
Principal and Chief Executive of BMet College, Andrew Cleaves said: “Erdington Skills Centre has always been a leading centre that delivered training for the construction industry. Now with even better facilities we will be able to meet even more local employer needs and can quickly reach out to those looking to benefit from our all-inclusive learning provision.”
“Hundreds of local 14-19 year-olds and adults taking the leap back into education, not having studied since their schooldays, and those in employment wanting to build their long term career options can all benefit from the hands on training the centre offers.”
The previous architecture of the centre consisted of a mixture of Edwardian and 1950s buildings that formed part of the Erdington Technical School. The centre has paid tribute to the heritage of the site by adding the original Erdington Technical School signage to a raised bedding area at the front of the new building.
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