A major training centre to hone skills and management techniques in construction across the West Midlands has been unveiled.

The £1 million site at Stourport, is the brainchild of the Thomas Vale Group - and it aims to benefit suppliers, partners and interested businesses across the region.

Managed by subsidiary firm Forum Training, the project will provide courses for to 2,000 people a year. Mike Wallis, chairman of the Thomas Vale Group, emphasised the importance of commitment to training, collaboration and investment in future generations.

"For a company of our size to have invested £1 million in a building of this value in addition to the £300,000 in routine training every year, really emphasises the nature of that commitment."

The centre, on Worcester Road, is working with Midlands-based universities, colleges and schools on other initiatives to raise the image of the construction sector through the centre.

A spokesman said: "The launch comes at a time when the construction industry needs to recruit additional skilled workers in order to meet Government targets.

"With over six million people in the UK without qualifications and a mass exodus of an ageing workforce expected by 2011, it is essential that regional companies commit to investing in and training future generations."

The new centre - supported annually by £ 300,000 of European Social Fund cash - is designed to be home for 20 personnel providing expertise across all areas of the construction industry. Courses cost £100 per day per delegate.

Thomas Vale employs around 410 people and consists of a range of companies, including Forum Training.

Speakers marked the launch of the scheme by leaving handprints in wet cement, forming a plaque for the new building.