New academy set to improve the skills of thousands of Midlands workers
At least 5,000 people a year are set to benefit from a new Midlands Training Academy, officially opened today in Aston by The Rt. Hon John Healey MP, Minister of State for Local Government and Communities.
National Express, one of the region’s biggest employers, has invested £235,000 in redeveloping the building that now homes the new Academy in Miller Street, Aston. It is the third of its type to be opened by the UK’s leading coach and bus company in the last two years, joining academies in London and York as a centre of excellence.
The Academy will provide community development and training opportunities for all employees working in the bus and coach business in the Midlands. It is anticipated that during 2009, the Academy will develop more than 5000 National Express staff, many of whom will be bus and coach drivers.
Councillor Jon Hunt from the West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority, Pat Jackson from Advantage West Midlands and Joe McConnell from Aston University joined the Minister and Alex Perry, Operations Director at National Express Bus and Coach at the official opening.
The Rt. Hon John Healey MP, Minister of State for Local Government and Communities said, "Every modern economy needs better skills and all staff need better training to stay on top of their jobs. National Express is leading by example in training and creating a confident staff that will enhance the future of the business."
Alex Perry, Operations Director of National Express UK Bus and Coach said, “We want to instil our workforce with a wide range of skills and we are dedicated to providing good quality employment in the Midlands. We are looking forward to training and developing our employees, providing new skills that will in turn deliver an excellent public transport system for our customers.”
A new and innovative way of working was also adopted by National Express to regenerate the Miller Street site. Members of the National Express Direct Labour Organisation (DLO) worked directly for the contractors, IDC, to refurbish the project. As a result the cost of the scheme was reduced by nearly £80,000 but more importantly, IDC provided professional construction management training to the team including CITB, Heath & Safety awareness training. IDC have committed to further formal training for the DLO staff in a variety of skills and qualifications in 2009, whilst working on other property and infrastructure projects for the National Express.
Notes to editors - training at the Academy will include:
- Chartered Management Institute accredited leadership programmes for team leaders and first line managers including a diploma in coaching
- Bite size programmes to develop interpersonal skills such as listening skills, time management and presentation skills
- A comprehensive mentoring programme
- Specialist NVQ’s including driver training and customer service