An Oldbury training company has invested almost £250,000 in a new scheme to help get Black Country people back into jobs.
BCTG launched The Work Shop, a drop-in shop in West Bromwich High Street, where people can get one-to-one support to find employment.
The is scheme is the brainchild of BCTG director Chris Luty who was searching for new premises for a current scheme called The Apprenticeship Works.
He said: "We were looking for a new base for The Apprenticeship Works which is one of a handful of schemes in the country providing employers with a ‘bank' of willing young apprentices.
"Since we launched it a couple of years ago it has proved very successful getting young people into work with qualifications but we didn't want to restrict our new centre to just one scheme.
"With around 14,000 people on job seekers allowance in Sandwell alone we know there is a great need to help people access good quality training, to help them with CV writing, job interviews and encouragement.
"So we are combining two different elements under one roof and we've called the new centre The Work Shop.”
People looking for jobs, training or help to get a job can drop in and speak to one of five staff at the new centre, which officially opened on Friday June 8.
It also houses The Apprenticeship Works, which helps employers find applicants to best suit their business needs. The apprentice is then employed by the agency with the employer paying a small weekly contribution.
The saving for the employer is up to two thirds the cost of employing a traditional agency worker.
Mr Luty said: "Unlike traditional skills and recruitment agencies The Apprenticeship Works provides a highly cost effective, flexible way of recruiting temporary and full-time employees.
"Compared to the typical recruitment agency fees, an agency apprentice can save an employer two thirds of the cost. Every apprentice receives ‘top-up' training from their local training provider to develop their skills and to complete their apprenticeship programme.
"There are no strings attached. An employer takes an apprentice for as long as they need and if they do want to take them on full time there's no fees, no hassle and no pressure.
"All our apprentices are employed directly by the agency and are selected based on the skills and experience the company needs, so every employer can be sure of getting what they want.
"And for the young person it means a good start on their career ladder. All apprentices are employed and receive a real wage. Every young person still gets the high quality, employment-based training they can usually expect from an apprenticeship programme.”
Pictured at the launch is l-r Towncrier Adrian Holmes with BCTG apprentice 19-year-old Lucie Bonehill and owner Chris Luty.