Mayor opens new Solihull office

Mayor opens new Solihull office

We are expanding our regional presence, adding to our nine UK offices with a new office in Solihull. We were delighted to welcome Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street for the official opening on Monday 29 March.

The new office is in addition to our existing base in Birmingham city centre, supporting around 150 local workers. Our growing presence in the Midlands facilitates our continued support for major projects such as HS2, the Eastcroft energy from waste plant, the Highways England regional development plan and Network Rail upgrades.

The Midlands has been one of the areas hardest hit by COVID redundancies. Our continued investment in the West Midlands will help to create over 900 local jobs over the next 24 months.

VGC has been working in the area for over 40 years, supplying skilled workers on projects including the M5 and M6 smart motorways, and the M6 Toll (Birmingham Northern Relief Road).

Groundworker Will Young tells Andy Street how he got into construction
In a video call, groundworker Will Young told Andy Street how he got into construction, and about the NVQ he is shortly to begin through the VGC Academy

Local jobs for local people

Ciara Pryce, chief operating officer, said: “Everyone should be able to earn a living close to home; we feel strongly that our project workforce should reflect the communities within which we work. In a recent diversity survey, VGC’s workforce in the Midlands region identified as 48% BAME. Local recruitment benefits communities economically and socially by creating sustainable careers for local people.

“We are working closely with stakeholders and training providers to create pathways for residents to access our employment opportunities, including apprenticeships and Kickstart placements. Our expanded office base will help us engage, attract and retain the best talent across the Midlands, and offer new openings on our client’s projects.”

Chris Ryan, managing director, said: “VGC has been hiring during the pandemic to support our future growth plans, buoyed by major contract wins. Our new office is a sign of our commitment to the region, and I look forward to supporting our clients as they deliver key regional infrastructure projects.”

Opening the VGC Solihull office, Mayor Andy Street said: “I’m delighted to welcome this investment in Solihull by VGC, and their fantastic plans to create over 900 jobs in the region over the next couple of years.

“The major investment we are seeing in the region, including HS2 and other large construction projects, is driving huge new opportunities for local jobs, and I’m really keen to see those jobs go to local people. VGC’s commitment to the West Midlands will play a big part in making this happen. I’m particularly impressed by their efforts to diversify their recruitment and make these opportunities and careers open to all.”

Maximising social value

Solihull office opening meeting
Mayor Andy Street discussed VGC’s plans in the Midlands with Sean Fitzpatrick, Ciara Pryce, Steve Kenny, Chris Ryan and (not visible) Richard Palin and Kimberley McGinty

At VGC we work with relevant stakeholders to maximise the employment benefits and social value for local communities and businesses. Our local programmes include:

  • A pre-employment training programme for WMCA residents in partnership with BBV and WMCA for entry level general operative roles on the HS2 project. It offers full training and immediate job opportunities on HS2 upon completion in May 2021.
  • Go Beyond the Gates, our award-winning programme to provide sustainable employment opportunities to ex-offenders, which includes collaboration with HMP Birmingham, Drake Hall and Stoke Heath.
  • Supporting the Women into Construction Trades and Labour recruitment programme on 29 April 2021 in the West Midlands
  • Working with Walsall Works to support unemployed people to gain access to construction employment opportunities
  • With the City Hearts Bright Future partnership, we are setting up a programme to help survivors of modern slavery to access construction employment opportunities
  • Local procurement of business services including training and PPE provision
  • An active schools engagement programme which has supported over 5,000 students in the last 24 months. It includes regular online virtual work experience weeks; 20 WMCA students have already signed up for our April 2021 virtual week experience week.
Main photograph (L to R): Ciara Pryce, VGC chief operating officer; Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands, Sean Fitzpatrick, VGC executive chairman; Chris Ryan, VGC labour managing director; (seated) Max Grange, delivery manager; Kayleigh Boxley, labour manager