Training opportunities for 16-19 year olds

Open day to be held for potential apprentices.

With a number of indicators pointing to exciting growth in the Greater Birmingham economy, there’s a need for bright new talent to contribute to the great opportunities for careers being created in the built environment.

Key amongst these are work in what in the building services engineering sector – which covers the vital roles of electricians, plumbers and heating engineers. Prospects for young people entering the sector are improving, as too few young people were entering training through an apprenticeship route because of the recession. As a result, there are now considerable skills shortages just when we need them.

Nowhere in the country is this more apparent than in the West Midlands where an upturn in domestic and industrial construction, as well as the expansion of industrial output means that prospects for those entering the trades have rarely been better. In order to respond to the very real demands of local business, and to give bright young people an insight into work in this rewarding sector, one of England and Wales’ leading training providers, JTL, is holding a major Open Day event at its impressive National Centre of Excellence in Mill Street, Birmingham on Wednesday 9th July.

The event is free and will allow young people, their parents and friends, to discover more about the blend of study and on-the-job work that today constitutes an apprenticeship. It’s an attractive option for many young people who are attracted by the opportunity to ‘earn while they learn’. As well as introducing visitors to apprenticeships, JTL – a charitable company and the largest training provider of building services engineering apprenticeships in the country – will be showcasing two other options for young people looking to move forward, having left school.

The first of these is an important and new Traineeship scheme which is designed to help a young person to be work-ready, including being accepted on an apprenticeship programme. JTL’s work in Birmingham has placed it ahead of other training providers in the sector and for its first group of Trainees under this new Traineeship Scheme, has provided a vital bridge between finishing full-time schooling and moving forward from not being in employment, education or training (NEET) to being an asset, as a potential new working recruit.

The third area that the Open Day will be featuring is new full-time course options that will start at the National Centre for Excellence from September. These are two year programmes, majoring on one of the trades. They are designed to cover the first two years of an apprenticeship syllabus, combining classroom learning with the honing of technical skills in one or more of the Centre’s well-equipped workshops.

The option has been developed in response to the needs of local employers who wish to start employing some of their apprentices from a more advanced technical standpoint, so it is anticipated that many on this programme will be highly sought after, given their study success.

“We believe that the Open Day will answer so many questions that young people and their parents rightly raise about personal futures,” said Kevin Newell, JTL’s Regional Business Manager for the West Midlands. “It is rare to have such an opportunity to meet the many experts under one roof at the same time, so I urge anyone thinking about their future to at least use this occasion to find out about the future in building services engineering. I think we will be able to surprise many people.”

Whilst the demand for qualified electricians, plumbers and heating engineers in the Birmingham area is high, it is apparent that many of the available, well-paid jobs are going to companies and their workforces based well away from Birmingham. The skills simply don’t exist in the city and the wealth being created by the jobs available is being lost from Birmingham and the West Midlands.

“We aim to help to correct this position through our work at the National Centre of Excellence,” said Kevin. “The issue for us is ensuring that the young people of the city and the surrounding areas have a better understanding of the range of jobs available to them and the scope to outperform other occupational choices.”

More information and the chance to apply for an apprenticeship or one of the other opportunities are available on