A new skills and training plan developed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and its partners will help local people to secure thousands of jobs in health sciences and care.
Today the WMCA, in partnership with local employers, training providers and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) launched the plan, which aims to move residents into key roles in the region and help those already in the sector to develop their careers.
The launch was hosted by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which is leading a programme on behalf of all NHS and Local Authority providers to deliver 100 entry level job opportunities each year for three years for unemployed and young people specifically from economically disadvantaged areas across the region.
The job offer will include jobs in both clinical and non-clinical settings, for example becoming a health care support worker, pharmacy assistant or theatre porter or business administrator, receptionist or IT apprentice.
Some of the roles that will be recruited include: porters, health care support workers, pharmacy assistants, administrative assistants, IT apprenticeships, drivers, warehouse, receptionists, catering assistants.
The WMCA funds training courses, through further education colleges and private training providers, to equip local people with the skills they need to gain jobs in growth sectors, including health and care.
Through its adult education budget, it now plans to offer a wider range of training at all levels for people looking for their first job or want to start a new career in health or care, and to upskill those already employed in the sector who are looking for promotion or a new job. This includes an expanded offer at Level 3 and more training that will lead to clinical careers. Historically, much of the training that has been funded by the adult education budget has been focused on social care. The new offer will expand the options available to match the wide range of careers.
There are more than 350 careers in the NHS, with approximately 1,900 jobs currently available in the West Midlands, while there are about 9,300 job vacancies in adult social care in the region at any one time.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We know sadly that many people have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic, while others who are still in work are feeling uncertain about their future.
“However, opportunities in health and care are continuing to grow, with a huge variety of jobs offering rewarding careers. That’s why we’ve launched our new health and social care training programme today. Not only will this scheme help people find work or upskill in this growing sector, but we can also help address a critically important skills gap in the West Midlands.
“I would urge anyone who would like to find out more about training, retraining or upskilling for jobs and qualifications in health and care, to visit our website for more information.”
Prof David Rosser, CEO of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Recognition of the vital role of the NHS and social care workforce has never been higher than during the covid pandemic and there are more than 80,000 people working in health and care jobs across Birmingham and Solihull from doctors, nurses and care home workers, through to our procurement staff sourcing personal protective equipment, our delivery drivers, our catering teams feeding patients and staff – all doing incredibly important jobs to support patients in challenging circumstances.
“But across the NHS organisations in the region there are around 1,900 vacancies and in my own organisation there are around 700 nursing vacancies.
“We have roles to fill at all levels of our organisations and we know there are people without jobs in all parts of our society who have the right skills and values to join our workforce and be supported to grow their skills and their careers.”
Cllr Ian Brookfield, the WMCA portfolio holder for the economy and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “Given the importance of health and care workers in fighting the coronavirus pandemic on the front line, the sector continues to grow, with opportunities that encompass more than 350 job roles in the NHS alone. The WMCA’s new training plan will help local people gain access to these jobs.”
The new West Midlands training offer includes courses from the region’s 12 universities and 21 colleges, and an English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programme tailored to the health and social care sector.
The WMCA and its partners aim to offer more flexible training, so that those in work and with other commitments will still be able to study.
To see the range of education and training opportunities available from the region’s universities, colleges and private training providers to help you start or develop your career in health sciences or care services, visit https://beta.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/productivity-and-skills/health-science-and-care-services-plan/