Grand Central: On track for jobs and skills

By on 03/11/2015 in Cllr Holbrook, Future Council, News

A campaign targeting areas of high unemployment helped almost 450 unemployed Birmingham residents into work at the city’s spectacular Grand Central development.

The £150 million shopping centre opened to great fanfare last month, creating 1,000 new full-time jobs and figures released today show that many of those jobs went to people from Birmingham’s high unemployment priority wards*. The statistics also show that almost 40 per cent of the new posts were taken by 16-24 year olds.

The Birmingham Growth Alliance Partnership (BGAP), comprising Birmingham City Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, John Lewis, Network Rail, Retail Birmingham, Skills Funding Agency, DWP, National Apprenticeship Service, National Careers Service, created a Talent Pool for the Grand Central project.

And the Pool proved to be a big success, helping 363 people into work

  • 91 per cent Birmingham
  • 9 per cent Solihull
  • 36 per cent were young people (16-26) of which 34 per cent were from priority wards*.
  • 81 per cent of the 363 into work had been through Pre Employment Training.

* These figures exclude John Lewis starts

John Lewis stats

  • 81 unemployed people into work – this represents 16 per cent of the total John Lewis workforce.
  • 52 of the 81 were from the partnership pathway.
  • 36 per cent completed Pre Employment Training
  • 27 per cent were from priority wards.
  • 31 per cent were young people (16-26) of which 25 per cent were from priority wards*.

Total: 444 unemployed people into work.

During the construction phase of Grand Central:

  • 290 unemployed Birmingham residents were supported into employment
  • 116 apprentices on site – exceeding the target of 100 (this is in addition to the 290 jobs figure above)

*Priority wards: Aston, Bordesley Green, Lozells & East Handsworth, Nechells, Soho, Sparkbrook, Washwood Heath

**NB: The statistics above represent a snapshot of employment figures for the Grand Central project and the figures continue to increase.

Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Skills, Learning and Culture, Cllr Penny Holbrook, said: “This to me is the real success story here. Yes Grand Central looks amazing and underlines Birmingham’s reputation as an amazing city but big developments are about so much more than simply buildings and an ever-changing skyline.

“Initiatives like this, the Snow Hill Masterplan and Birmingham Smithfield that Cllr Tahir Ali is working hard to deliver are designed to improve the lives of ordinary Brummies, creating jobs and opportunities for people across our city. Our aim is to work with partners to give people the skills they need to secure the jobs created by these exciting developments.

“Lots of the Grand Central jobs have gone to people living in our priority wards* and we’re not just talking about 444 individuals, these jobs make a huge difference to hundreds of households, to families and to communities.

“For many of the young people we’ve helped into jobs, this will be their first experience of the world of work and will hopefully set them on the road to a lifetime of employment.”

Nigel Kimpton, DWP District Manager, Birmingham & Solihull District, added: “This is a really great example of how DWP, Local Authorities  and Local Employers can really benefit the people of Birmingham by working closely together. DWP will continue to work with other partners to further this type of work and help raise the employment rate in Birmingham.”

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