Birmingham youngsters, who are being trained to help fill the region's skills gap in construction, are to have an active role in the building of a flagship £3.5 million community project in Shard End.
The Shard End Community Building Project is backed by the Prince of Wales and is being funded through a variety of partners including regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, the European Regional Development Fund and a number of charities.
The project is being chaired by Brian Summers, formerly chief executive of Birmingham Airport, and building work is being carried out by Thomas Vale Construction.
Work was officially started at the Kitts Green Road site by TV newscaster Kay Alexander and, when completed, the building will form the hub of youth work in the area, delivering a range of services to support training development.
The centre - which is a flagship project in the East Birmingham and North Solihull Regeneration Zone - will include a basement with music, dance and drama facilities, a recreation area, cyber cafe and training and meeting-room facilities.
Youngsters from Shard End have been involved in designing the building, but will also be involved in training for much sought-after construction skills.
One of the trainees, Jamie White, has impressed bosses at Thomas Vale Construction so much he has already been offered a placement with the firm.
The centre is due to be complete in summer 2006.
Advantage West Midlands director for Birmingham and Solihull, Rosie Paskins, said: "The East Birmingham and North Solihull Regeneration Zone has worked tirelessly to bring this project to fruition and now it can truly begin to grow and engage the local community." n A Warwickshire company has started work on construction of a new supermarket in Oldbury.
Pettifer Construction, which employs around 300 people and is based in Shipton-on-Stour, secured the £1 million contract to build the new Co- Op store and warehouse.
Work should be completed by the autumn. n Construction has started on a £12 million rail freight terminal north of Birmingham. West Bromwich-based Anglo Holt Construction has completed work on an access bridge to the site near Junction 10 of the M42.
The 35 acre terminal will receive freight from a number of UK ports when completed.