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Further Education Training Providers across West Midlands and Warwickshire unveil new one stop shop for employers
  • Skills West Midlands + Warwickshire launched
  • Post 16 training providers say: “We’ve made your business our business”
  • creates hub to present region’s best training and talent in one place

Colleges and training providers across the West Midlands and Warwickshire have come together to launch a new brand, website and advertising campaign which creates a one stop shop for employers and their workforce.

Skills West Midlands and Warwickshire is part of the Local Skills and Improvement Plan (LSIP) with funding through the Department for Education’s Local Skills and Improvement Fund (LSIF).

Alongside the launch of Skills WM+W, a report reveals detailed research and analysis into the opportunities and challenges around skills in four priority growth sectors: construction, engineering and manufacturing, digital and ICT and logistics and distribution.

Post 16 education and training providers are coming together at a crucial time to upskill and reskill the region’s workforce. They promise to put employers at the heart of the skills planning process, so businesses have the people and skills they need to innovate, grow and thrive.

Skills WM+W has the potential to transform the way colleges engage with employers, delivering a more agile and responsive service that better aligns with employer needs. With this new way of working, training providers hope to play an even bigger part in the region’s growth story.

An advertising campaign launches this week, appearing on social media, digital outdoor posters and in online programmatic display. The campaign tells employers that “we’ve made your business our business.” The one stop shop is being launched at a series of events with employers this week: 

  • MAC in Birmingham on Tuesday, 19th March
  • Warwick Racecourse on Wednesday, 20th March and
  • BCIMO Centre in the Black Country on Thursday 20th March.

A limited number of places are available at these sessions.  To find out more, join Skills West Midlands + Warwickshire at the ‘Bringing businesses and training providers together for growth’ events from 9.00am to 12 midday at:

Commenting on the launch, Suzie Branch-Haddow of Birmingham Metropolitan College and Lead Project Manager of Skills WM +W said:

“Skills West Midlands and Warwickshire is a regional growth strategy.

“Many colleges and training providers are working well with employers. They tell us they are largely satisfied with the technical skills taught in colleges. But we need to go deeper, harder and faster.

“Skills WM+W is our statement of intent that will see us work better together and engage even deeper with employers. We have listened and this is the first chance to show employers what we are doing. It is massive step up for our sector and not without its challenges in a competitive market.

“We know the jobs are there; the growth potential is there. But there are serious challenges, not least in addressing acute labour shortages right now and real problems with soft and essential skills.

“This is a big opportunity. I hope employers will recognise that we see their business as our business.”

Suzie Branch-Haddow of Birmingham Metropolitan College and Lead Project Manager of Skills WM +W

Further education already takes a central role in supporting skills development across the region. It comprises 70 providers and teaches around 120,000 students. However, the role of FE amongst a significant number of employers is either unknown or misunderstood.

The insight report from Whitecap Consulting provides comprehensive analysis on the four priority growth sectors with mapping of the entire curriculum in these areas and in-depth 1-1 discussions with decision-makers across a range of employers. It spells out where there are acute labour and skills shortages, which industries face the challenge of ageing workforces and highlights the issue of poorly equipped entry level recruits who struggle with ‘soft’ and essential skills.

Skills West Midlands and Warwickshire is set to deliver on the Local Skills Improvement Plan published in 2023 which laid out a clear roadmap. The plan revealed around 74% of regional employers had not worked with post-16 education and training providers in the last five years. Around 90% of employers in Whitecap’s latest research said they want to know more about what the sector can offer and showed a clear appetite to be more involved in shaping training provision.

This latest stage of the Plan’s delivery aims to answer the call in Whitecap’s research for a streamlined and effective single point of engagement, with a united brand and website.

A copy of the insights report can be found on the website: