Hundreds of unemployed people are to benefit from a £500,000 training programme to help them gain new jobs and life skills ahead of Coventry City of Culture 2021.
The event is expected to bring £350m into the West Midlands and support thousands more jobs across the city and the surrounding area.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is funding a training programme to help disadvantaged local people in the city by giving them the skills they need to secure these jobs and improve their long-term career prospects.
Local training provider PET-Xi will be training unemployed Coventry residents in skills applicable to the creative, digital and tourism sectors, with a focus on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, using the city’s status as UK City of Culture as a starting point to move the learners into work.
PET-Xi will be supporting residents to secure apprenticeships and events-related jobs across the city and region in hospitality, production, sales and customer service roles.
Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It is absolutely vital that we use the brilliant opportunity of Coventry City of Culture next year to create local jobs for local people – and that’s exactly what this new £500,000 training programme will help achieve.
“Getting people skilled up and into work will be a critical part of the region’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, and this is particularly important for the culture and hospitality sectors.
“These sectors play an important role in the West Midlands economy, but have been amongst the hardest hit by the Covid-19 shutdown.
“By upskilling local residents to prepare for Coventry City of Culture 2021, we will help these sectors recover and give some of the most disadvantaged people in the city the support they need to move into work.
“The West Midlands Combined Authority is already the single biggest investor in City of Culture next year, and I am pleased we are continuing to build on that.”
Martin Sutherland, chief executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, added: “We are delighted that the WMCA’s support will allow PET-Xi to deliver this programme. It will give young people across the city the necessary skills to make the most of the fantastic opportunities Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture will bring.”
Fleur Sexton, managing director of PET-Xi Training, said: “We are very grateful to the WMCA for enabling us to help hundreds of local people to fulfil their potential in Coventry in the lead up to and during City of Culture 2021.
“We will be running a variety of training programmes, including digital skills and team leading, and we are looking forward to starting in the summer.”
The £500,000 training boost is in addition to the £31m funding package from the WMCA to enhance and improve Coventry city centre as part of the preparations for 2021.
Jon Robinson – Senior Digital Staff Writer