The first meeting of a newly formed team spearheading a drive to create hundreds of apprenticeships across Birmingham, Solihull and its surrounding areas has taken place.
The Ladder for Greater Birmingham committee brings together a blend of public and private sector partners with the common goal of creating at least 1,000 new apprenticeship roles in the Greater Birmingham area.
The 'Ladder' initiative has already seen success through previous projects in London, Staffordshire, Shropshire and the Black Country but has now turned its focus onto Birmingham and Solihull.
The committee met for the first time at Birmingham's famous Council House and welcomed Kerensa Jennings from the office of the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, who has been an active supporter of the Ladder since its birth in the capital in 2012 and is a patron of the Ladder for the Black Country.
The meeting gave partners a chance to hear updates on the project so far following its soft launch in July and to look ahead to the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership's (GBSLEP) Annual Conference on September 26 where the Ladder will be introduced to the region's leading civic and business leaders.
Ladder for Greater Birmingham is being led by community development group The Vine Trust and training provider Performance Through People with funding from the GBSLEP and BirminghamLive as the key media partner.
Members of the Birmingham & Solihull Provider Network will deliver the training to the apprentices.
Kevin Davis, chief executive of The Vine Trust and Ladder chairman, said: "It's my privilege to help steer such an eclectic group who, in our first meeting, demonstrated passion for working collaboratively towards our vision for encouraging new jobs and skills in our region."
Rob Colbourne, managing director of Performance Through People, said: "At a time when apprenticeship starts have decreased since the apprenticeship reforms were introduced in May 2017, I was thrilled that key stakeholders around the table see the Ladder as a platform to increase apprenticeships numbers in Greater Birmingham and the positivity from the group fills me with confidence that this initiative will be a great success."
Christian Sayer, skills lead for the GBSLEP, said: "Apprenticeships offer a wonderful opportunity for residents to develop the skills vital for a successful career in the 21st century workplace while receiving a wage.
"Apprentices can help drive innovation and productivity for businesses.
"GBSLEP is excited about the impact that the Ladder will have in creating hundreds of new apprenticeships, developing the talent we need to drive economic growth and prosperity for the region."
Also attending the meeting were Gill Durkin, business development director for Performance Through People; Julie Nugent, director of productivity and skills at the West Midlands Combined Authority; Chris Plant, divisional director at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce; and Noel Dunne, director at Creative Alliance.
For more information about Ladder for Greater Birmingham and to get involved visit www.ladderforbirmingham.co.uk or call 03332 409 699.