The infrastructure firm which maintains Birmingham’s roads has launched a new apprenticeship initiative which will create 40 jobs for young people in the region.

Amey is launching its Amey Apprenticeship Academy, which will bring together its young recruits from all of its contracts including Network Rail, Birmingham City Council’s highways maintenance PFI and the management of 1,500km of the West Midlands’ trunk roads and motorways for the Highways Agency.

As part of the initiative, the firm is creating 100 new apprenticeships, with 40 in the West Midlands.

Amey chief executive Mel Ewell said the firm had a responsibility to try to tackle high rates of joblessness among young people in the region.

Mr Ewell added: “The West Midlands has a real issue around youth unemployment and we’re going to be working very hard indeed with all our stakeholders to try and find ways of getting these young people back into employment.

“The sorts of skills we’re trying to develop with these young apprentices are skills that we believe we need to work with local employment agencies to try to develop.

“For example, engineering capabilities, looking at structures like bridges and tunnels, working in electronic engineering and building that skill set, because unfortunately there is a shortage of those sorts of skills in the 18-24 age group.”

Amey’s apprentices will complete a structured programme involving studying towards National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), completing work placements, on-the-job training and working to achieve the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

The move will provide a timely boost to the region’s employment sector.

The Amey Apprenticeship Academy was launched at a pioneering training centre for Network Rail in Walsall, as many of the young people will be working on rail projects.

The complex features a realistic mock rail environment where young people can learn practical engineering techniques or shadow experienced rail professionals.