From education to employment

Adult education in the spotlight as West Midlands Mayor visits Coventry College

Adult learners benefitting from courses to help boost their skills and fill vacancies in key sectors across the West Midlands shared their positive experiences with the region’s Mayor.

The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, visited Coventry College to speak to learners about the Green Skills Insulation Bootcamps and the work they have got out of them.

The course, funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), is being delivered by Coventry College on the WMCA’s behalf and results in guaranteed job interviews upon completion.

The Mayor first visited the college’s Construction Workshop and met with learners taking the Green Skills Insulation Bootcamps, as well as trainer James Sampson.

He heard about how the course teaches students a range of retrofit insulation skills in support of improving old homes to meet the government’s net zero goals, and spoke to students about their experiences.

The Mayor also met with Kate Eckersley of Dyson Energy Services – one of the employers who offer interviews to those who complete the course – and heard from her about the success she has had since hiring two of the course’s participants.

Following his tour of the Construction Workshop, the Mayor then engaged in a roundtable discussion with learners and employers including education agency Smile Education, housing retrofitters Westdale Midlands Ltd and event security company Stadium at the college’s new Retrofit Centre.

Many of the employers taking part in the roundtable work directly with Coventry College to provide interviews for learners who complete sector-based work academy (SWAP) programmes that give them the skills thy need. These SWAPs are also funded by WMCA.

The Mayor said: “It was great to meet learners at Coventry College taking WMCA funded courses and I was delighted to hear how useful they’ve already been for so many local people.

“The students spoke very positively about the courses they were taking – and employers including Dyson Energy Services and Westdale Midlands Ltd shared how well these learners performed after being hired.

“The WMCA is committed to ensuring learners from right across our region have the skills they need to succeed – whether that’s retrofitting old housing, serving as teaching assistants in local schools or many other fields besides.

“We reaffirmed the depth of our commitment just recently when we announced that we’ve managed to ensure Level 3 training will now be free for people earning less than £30,000 annually.

“Coventry College has an important part to play in this upskilling drive so I look forward to seeing more good news in the months and years ahead as we continue to back the College’s efforts.”

Carol Thomas, Principal and CEO of Coventry College, said:

“It was wonderful to welcome Andy Street to Coventry College and to introduce him to our learners and trainers who are really benefitting from the courses WMCA is funding.

“Our SWAP programmes and the Green Skills Insulation Bootcamps are working really well for our learners and the employers that hire those who complete the courses.

“As a college, we are committed to helping as many as people as possible acquire the relevant skills to thrive in the world of work, and with the support of the WMCA, we are already seeing great success.”

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