Scheme helped actor turn back on showbiz for construction as she says 'life goes in different ways'

Inspired young people from the West Midlands have told how training opportunities helped turn their lives around. West Midlands Mayor Richard Parker unveiled his flagship youth unemployment plan in which he hopes to create 20,000 learning and work opportunities over the next few years.

And as part of the launch at Glasswater Locks in Birmingham on Wednesday (July 10), he met a number of people from across the region who have found jobs after getting support they needed. One of them Jake Collins, aged 21 from West Bromwich, found himself caring for his mother from the age of 13 until her death in 2021.

As a result of his carer responsibilities, Jake missed a lot of school and college until he was finally encouraged to join a Sector Based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) with training at Sandwell College. This has led to him landing a full-time job as ward service officer at Sandwell Hospital.

READ MORE: Mayor launches flagship plan aimed at tackling region's high youth unemployment

His success resulted in him winning a West Midlands Combined Authority Adult Learning Award for Step Into Learning last week after being nominated by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust. He said: "I'd been a carer since I was 13 up until I was 20. I was in and out of school and college because of having to look after mom.

"This job has had a massive impact on my life. I'm now financially stable and it's got my mental health at around 100 per cent. I'm around people and able to speak to people. I'm in a routine and it feels amazing to be where I am now. I could never have imagined being here.

"I was lost, I didn't really know what I wanted to do where I wanted to go. Once I started doing the SWAP programme I started to envisage what I wanted to do in life."

Tyan Lynvest, who is 25 and from Birmingham, got a degree in acting back in 2021 and secured a few small roles but wanted something more secure. She took a job in cyber security in Bromsgrove before being told about the Skills Centre, which resulted in her landing a job at MPB Structures in Birmingham.

She said: "My mate actually told me about the Skills Centre and that is where I got my CSES (construction skills certification scheme) card. We then went on some site tours here at Glasswater Locks and did work experience. After that Jo Doyle, at MPB offered me a job as document controller.

I've been doing this since September and I love it. It has made such a difference. It's brilliant, good for job security and really sustainable for my own life in terms of money, finance and it is motivating and gives you routine and good discipline. I would recommend this 100 per cent. I really wish I could have got onto this earlier but life goes in different ways.

"I really hope we can promote construction at an earlier stage maybe before college. I don't know where I'd be if I did start earlier. When you're younger you think construction is just putting bricks up but there are so many different roles."

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