Metro Mayor Andy Street hails new Ladder ‘have-a-go’ skills academy in Birmingham

West Midlands elected Mayor Andy Street has underlined the regional authority’s commitment to supporting apprenticeships as he opened the new Ladder Skills Academy in Birmingham.

“This is exactly what I want to see,” said Mr Street.

“It is very timely, coming in National Apprenticeship Week, as we are seeing the number of apprenticeships increasing quite dramatically.”

Mr Street’s commitment to apprenticeships has already seen his levy transfer scheme raise £40 million from unspent training funds to support the creation of 3,000 apprentices alongside West Midlands SMEs.

The new Academy offers young people the opportunity to have a go at a variety of careers, gaining experience in construction, modern manufacturing, digital technology, dentistry, retail, childcare and healthcare.

Mr Street took the opportunity to talk to tutors and apprentices manning several of the “have a go”  stands, as well as visiting an apprenticeship jobs fair on the first floor of the Trent Education building, in Mill Street.

The Academy has been established by the Ladder Foundation with funding from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and match funding supplied by BCTG, the Midlands-based training group.

Rob Colbourne OBE, chief executive of PTP, part of BCTG, was one of the founding members of the region’s Ladder apprenticeship network.

He said: “This have-a-go hub provides young people with the opportunity to experience a working environment and the jobs carried out in a wide range of sectors before they decide on their future career.

“Chris Luty, the chief executive of BCTG, has committed £100,000 to match funding the equipment and operational costs of the Academy, so people can get a real flavour of the world of work.

“We are also being provided with a room at the Birmingham Central Library, by Birmingham City Council, as well as support from companies like AF Blakemore & Son, the Metropolis training restaurant, Angels Day Nursery and many others.

“Our plan is to open more hubs like this, in the Black Country and Staffordshire. There’s nothing else like this, offering people choice and unbiased information and guidance on potential careers, and we are delighted to have the support of the West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street.”

Mr Colbourne added: “Since I started working with Kevin Davis, chair of the Ladder Foundation, nearly ten years ago we have seen Ladders established in the Black Country , Shropshire, Staffordshire and then Birmingham in 2019.

“As well as 5,000 apprenticeship starts through Ladder partners, we have also seen a government-funded new Build Ladder School opening in Walsall just before Christmas and now this ‘have-a-go’ hub.”

Alongside Mr Street’s tour, the Academy was visited throughout the day by Year 11 and 13 students, who had the opportunity to undertake a variety of have-a-go sessions, which also included hospitality, engineering, business and professional services.

Kevin Davis, chair of the Ladder Foundation, said: “The Ladder Skills Academy will form part of the Ladder Legacy in Birmingham, working with over 70 partners including independent training providers, colleges, universities, and employers.

“We will be providing a one-stop shop focussing on supporting individuals and especially young people aged between 16 to 29. We are working to raise aspirations, offering independent and appropriate information and guidance to develop the next generation of skilled workers, leaders, and entrepreneurs.

“Schools will be offered the opportunity to bring their students to the Academy to undertake have-a-go sessions outside the traditional academic setting, promoting all career pathways.”

Ends (566 words)

For further information, please contact: 

Chris Luty, Chairman,

BCTG Group, European Business Park, Taylors Lane, Oldbury, B69 2BN. Tel: 0121 544 6455

Prepared and issued by ASAP PR – mobile 07990 978257.

Notes for the editor:

The BCTG Group, based in Oldbury, has ten sites in Birmingham, the Black Country, Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme, and also includes Performance Through People, The Apprenticeship Works, BCTG Ltd, Eurosource Solutions and Further EPAO.