Jobless young people are to be taught to renovate rundown properties in a major new initiative to tackle youth unemployment in Birmingham.

The project, initially centred on Lozells and East Handsworth, aims to cut dole queues while also improving housing and the environment for some of the most deprived areas in the city.

Transform West Midlands will teach jobless youngsters to renovate empty, rundown properties and will equip them with valuable skills for future employment.

The project will be launched at Lozells Methodist Community Centre at 7.15pm this Thursday, when Transform West Midlands will be seeking input from the local community.

Director Rowena Wilding said: “Transform West Midlands was born out of a desire to see communities in and around Birmingham and the West Midlands that have been previously overlooked and undervalued undergo radical change, addressing issues of multiple disadvantage and improving the quality of life for those who live there.

“We wish to help these communities grow in value by creating real, viable employment and training opportunities for young people, alongside improving the area.”

Young adults will not just carry out work on neglected buildings, but also play a role in the day-to-day running of the company, supported by experienced professionals.

Managing Director Stephen Willey said: “By working this way we hope to lock value into communities, improve the long term outlook and self-esteem of the young people involved, and unlock respect by reinvesting all profits to enhance the neighbourhoods in which we work.”

Transform West Midlands is described as a community interest company which grew out of contacts between sustainable energy business New World Solar, social enterprise entrepreneur Dave Lane and managing director Stephen Willey.

Transform West Midlands is also looking for businesses and professional services to work in the Lozells area, and will be holding a business breakfast for interested parties in February. Contact Stephen and Rowena at