Helping local people gain new jobs and skills during the COVID-19 shutdown

By George Duggins | 15 April 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak means we are all now living and working in a very different way.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is working with partners across local and central government, public health, police, charities and businesses to maintain essential services and to keep our residents safe through this unprecedented time.

This is a huge collaborative effort, and all partners are united in their efforts to keep our communities safe and, where possible, to stay at home.

The WMCA is keen to support people who are at home. We have launched a new Covid-19 support website to help people who want to gain new skills, or to look for a new career.

There are nearly 600 free courses on our website, helping local people to improve their skills in a wide range of areas including digital skills development, childcare and education, leadership and employability, counselling, and online and mobile banking.

The site also offers health and wellbeing advice to help people adjust to working at home.

Similarly, we are posting many vacancies for companies operating in critical sectors supporting our communities, across health, retail and care. Due to the current situation, many businesses are urgently seeking extra support and more staff to meet orders, help with deliveries and just to keep things moving.

We are listing the vacancies on a dedicated page on our COVID-19 support site, and I would urge anyone who has recently lost their job to look at what’s available and consider applying.

As our economy recovers, and we emerge from this current crisis, we expect to see many more job opportunities across key sectors, including construction, digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering, business and professional services.

WMCA is working with local colleges and training providers to provide new training and employment opportunities to support our economic recovery. This will include support for people thinking about a career change, who might need some additional training or counselling to get them ready for new opportunities

I hope as many people as possible will take the time to look at the courses and take advantage of this free online training.

Ultimately, I believe the West Midlands has a strong network of local partners, well placed to get us through this very difficult time so that we can emerge stronger, ready to support the continued economic revival of the region.

Residents can access links to new job opportunities at and online adult education training at

Cllr George Duggins is leader of Coventry City Council and West Midlands Combined authority (WMCA) portfolio holder for productivity and skills

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