The WMCA exceeded its target of training 6,000 unemployed people in partnership with Birmingham 2022 ©WMCA

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has announced that it has exceeded its target for training unemployed people in partnership with Birmingham 2022 here, with more than 7,500 people benefitting from the Jobs and Skills Academy (JSA).

An initial target of training 6,000 people in preparations for the Games had been set at the launch of the JSA in 2020, but according to the WMCA, it has reached 7,570 people with the Opening Ceremony approaching on July 28.

The initiative aimed to help unemployed residents secure qualifications in relevant field for the Games including security and stewarding, and received £5 million ($6 million/€5.9 million) of investment from the WMCA.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and the chair of the WMCA, expressed his belief in the value of the JSA.

"The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games this summer, beyond being 11 exciting days of sporting spectacle, has the potential to deliver a lasting legacy for the people of the West Midlands for generations to come," he said.

"A vital part of that legacy is what impact the Games has in terms of jobs and skills.

"That’s why I’m so pleased we have far exceeded our 6,000 target.

"The skills acquired through our Jobs and Skills Academy not only opens up opportunities to people during the Games, but also equips them with lifelong skills that will serve them well in the job market throughout their working lives."

Birmingham 2022's director of legacy Nicola Turner added that the JSA was an example of a scheme which would provide a long-term benefit to the region from its hosting of the Games.

The JSA provided training in fields including security and stewarding for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images
The JSA provided training in fields including security and stewarding for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

"It is brilliant to see thousands of these training opportunities being taken up by local people," Turner said.

"We set out to reach individuals who needed a boost following the pandemic, and seeing who is benefitting and hearing their stories, is the highlight of my job.

"The Games may feel the benefit in the short term but every person who's been through the Academy will take their new qualifications and experience with them, benefitting the region in the longer term."

The Organising Committee's director of workforce and volunteering Andrew Newman argued that the scheme would serve JSA participants well in their future careers.

"The Games will have a workforce of approximately 50,000 representing the largest mobilisation of people since the London 2012 Olympics," he commented.

"I am delighted that the Games have inspired thousands into training, much of which is aligned to the thousands of job opportunities we have connected to Birmingham 2022 both within the Organising Committee and with contractors.

"We are grateful that thousands of unemployed people have been able to be trained through the support of the Jobs and Skills Academy.

"These roles provide a multitude of transferable skills for those wishing to start or enhance their career ahead of them.

"It will be an excellent addition to anyone’s CV and a great opportunity to get involved, boost skills and help make the Games a success."

Birmingham is set to host the Commonwealth Games for the first time from July 28 until August 8, with venues across the West Midlands region of England being used.