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Construction College Midlands is one of 10 local businesses, colleges and councils who will share £2.5 million to support young people across the region and drive clean growth on the route to net zero.

Projects ranging from new youth hubs supporting young unemployed people to a new purpose-built facility to deliver STEM education and training will receive grants from Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership’s (GBSLEP) Growing Places Fund.

The grants will provide residents and business across the GBSLEP area with new buildings, training and skills opportunities, and equipment which supports the Government’s vision to level up the West Midlands.

John Adams, Director of Commercial Projects at Walsall College said: “The Growing Places Fund will be a key driver in our efforts to address skills gaps and deliver green initiatives within the construction industry.

“An investment in our facilities, coupled with additional apprenticeship training, sector work academy programmes for jobseekers and school engagement activities will better support young people into long term employment and channel our local economic recovery.”

The full list of projects is listed below:

  • Dolphin Centre Youth Hub (Birmingham City Council)
  • The Greater Birmingham Ladder Enterprise Hub (BCTG Ltd)
  • Solihull Youth Hub Digital Skills and Capability Development (Solihull Council)
  • Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator (Tyseley Energy Park Ltd)
  • Tomorrow’s People (Cadburys College / Sandwell College)
  • Engineering and Sustainable Construction Centre (University College Birmingham)
  • Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology ‘For the Win’
  • Scaffolding and Roofing Construction Employability (Construction College Midlands – part of Walsall College)
  • Crafting the Future – Redditch Construction Centre (Heart of Worcestershire College)
  • Tyseley Incubator for Clean Energy Phase 2 (Tyseley Energy Park Ltd)

Sophie Drake, GBSLEP Board Director for Young People said: “The pandemic diminished the prospects and opportunities for many groups in our society with research highlighting the negative economic and social impact on our young people. That’s why working through our triple helix structure of public, private and academic partners, we published our Young People Strategy last year and developed this grant programme to help our younger generation build a strong future for themselves. From the projects that can now go ahead, it’s clear the Growing Places Fund will have a real impact on the ground with new facilities, employment hubs and training programmes for young people across the West Midlands.”

“In addition to this, we are funding some projects that will propel our green recovery which sits at the heart of our ongoing mission to drive sustainable inclusive growth for our local economy. This builds on the existing £1.2 Clean Growth Programme where grants are still currently available for our SMEs.”

GBSLEP launched the Growing Places Fund last year to address the twin challenges of helping young people and stimulate clean growth innovation. Along with the Fund, GBSLEP published its Young People You(th) Matter report offering evidence-backed recommendations for helping a generation that were disproportionally affected by the pandemic. In this year’s Princes Trust Natwest Youth Index, for those not in work or education, 46% of the young people surveyed said being unemployed made them feel hopeless.