The Midland Metro Alliance is committed to creating a trained, enthusiastic and committed workforce to meet its skilled and semi-skilled resource plans over the next ten years.

The organisation recognised a lack of knowledge and misconceptions surrounding the sector at various job fairs and career events that the training team attended during 2017 and decided to lead an initiative with other employers in the West Midlands to address some of the issues by educating young people, parents, teachers and other organisations through delivery of career advice.

Also with the aim of recognising a need to redressing an aging workforce in the sector (the average age in construction and rail is 45 years old) the alliance engaged with local colleges to host a roadshow showcasing career opportunities within rail, civils and construction sectors to schools, colleges and unemployed young people aged 18-29 across the West Midlands.

Colleges partnering to host the “Connecting Futures” roadshows were:

• Dudley College
• City of Wolverhampton College
• Birmingham Metropolitan College
• Solihull College
• Aston University Engineering Academy
• Walsall College

Over 40 employers collaborated with us on the project – these included:

Alstom Group Aspire Avatar 3D Barhale
Bodyguard Workwear Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd Bouygues UK CADCOE
Chase Plant Hire CITB Colas Rail Colas Ltd
Dawnus Construction East West Rail Egis Gunn JCB
HS2 Job Change Jonathan Lee Recruitment Keyline Rail
Laing Murphy Morgan Sindall National Careers Services National College for High Speed Rail
Pell Frischmann Pier UK Planit Global Quattro Plant
Rail Safety Solutions RSK Environmental Ltd SOCOTEC UK Speedy Services
Tony Gee TXM Plant Virgin Trains Waterman Group
Weir Waste West Midland Trains West Midland Combined Authority Women into Construction

More than 2,000 people attended the roadshows over the six days in March 2018.

The Connecting Futures in the West Midlands Transportation Infrastructure Roadshow: Benefits to young people:

The roadshows offered information, advice and guidance from industry experts to young people aged 10-29 who wanted to know about future career opportunities in the rail, light rail, civils and highways sectors.

Young people, parents, teachers and youth workers had the opportunity to:

• Learn about careers in design, engineering, construction, business administration, marketing & sales, finance, human resources, information technology, management, client engagement, driving and many others
• Find out what qualifications young people need to get their dream job
• Hear from the college apprenticeship teams what becoming an apprentice entails and what young people should expect from an employer and what they expect from young people in return

The Connecting Futures in the West Midlands Transportation Infrastructure Roadshow: Benefits to employers:

The West Midlands is seeing the highest levels of investment in the transportation sector in decades with the extension of the Midland Metro and the forthcoming works for High Speed Rail (HS2). In addition, the high profile motorway maintenance projects having an impact on the availability of skilled and semi-skilled labour available.

Employers joined the roadshow to:

• Combat limited careers advice in schools, FE & Job Centres for young people regarding our sector
• Highlight skills shortages across the sector with an aging workforce
• Promote different routes including Apprenticeships (many companies will have the Apprenticeship Levy to spend and government target* is 30,000 apprentices)
• Redress the mismatch between employers’ needs and existing curriculum offers in schools and FE
• Work with local communities to inform and educate local young people which may contribute towards organisations’ CSR objectives
• Be part of a collaborative industry initiative across the West Midlands
• Attract talent – a new generation of engineers, designers and construction professionals (20% women & BAME by 2020*) *Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy

 

Testimonials:

“Women into Construction had the pleasure of attending several of the roadshows and was impressed by the proactive and collaborative approach of the alliance to promoting the rail and construction sectors. The events gave WiC the opportunity to connect with similar organisations but most importantly the chance to engage with candidates requiring our support and guidance and the necessary help to access the industry at any level. Well done to MMA for taking the lead on Construction CIAG for the region, especially during this period of growth and demand for skills”
Luana Bills, Project Manager – Women into Construction CIC

“A great opportunity to engage with the younger generation on what we have to offer in our industry”
Matt O’Keeffe, Traffic Management Manager, Colas Ltd

“Our apprentices enjoyed working at the event and encouraging likeminded young people to join the transportation industry”
Kevin Smith, Training and Development manager, West Midland Trains

“It was a pleasure to be able to give a little introduction to students about our industry, and hopefully a few will be coming into our industry in the future”
Richard Jukes, Chase Plant Hire Ltd

“I’ve had lots of positive comments from tutors who brought their students to the roadshow, in particular expressing how nice it was to see a group of employers who concentrated in areas that their students were interested in, engineering and construction”
Wendy Harrington, Woodlands Campus Manager, Solihull College

“Birmingham Metropolitan College was delighted to participate in the Connecting Futures in the West Midlands Roadshow brought to us by the Midland Metro Alliance. With over 25 employers exhibiting to showcase careers in the rail, civils and construction sectors it encouraged our students to explore different career paths. Our students actively engaged with employers giving them a fantastic insight to the job roles available across the region, especially the apprenticeship opportunities, ranging from rail engineers to business administrators. Hopefully this is something that will develop and become a regular feature for young people and those currently unemployed or looking for a career change that are engaged with BMet working alongside Midland Metro Alliance”
Shaun Hall, Planning and Projects Manager, BMet

The Midland Metro Alliance will be working in the West Midlands over the next decade and is keen to leave more than just new tramways. We want to leave a legacy of knowledgeable light rail and construction experts than can export their skills for light rail and construction projects around the world.