Blog Archives

Training and work opportunities with Birmingham City Council

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Optimum Skills

Are you over the age of 19 and seeking work or an apprenticeship?

Do you want to learn valuable work related skills and gain new qualifications?

Do you want to gain valuable work experience with Birmingham City Council with opportunities to progress onto an Apprenticeship or direct employment within the Birmingham City area?

Birmingham City Council in partnership with Optimum skills Limited have numerous work placement opportunities and are now recruiting.

The twelve week programme will consist of:

  • One week’s employability skills induction training (including completion of a Level 1 Certificate in Employability Skills) in the classroom to prepare you for your work experience within the council environment, where you will gain valuable life skills and qualifications;
  • Work experience placement in your chosen pathway (over four days a week); part of this placement will include study towards a Level 1 Certificate in Customer Service
  • Proactive work preparation support, references, and interview opportunities for apprenticeship and job progression.

The opportunities are available immediately and enrolment will be on a monthly basis.

Business Administration work experience will include supporting Landlord Services and other city council departments with day to day duties including answering phones, data inputting, customer queries, filing, collating information etc. This opportunity will give you sufficient work experience to build your competencies to prove to potential employers that you are capable of an apprenticeship in a similar field or for direct job vacancies that exist.

Property and caretaking work experience will be working outdoors. You will work within Landlord Services in small teams throughout Birmingham City Council undertaking duties that will include painting, cleaning, environmental maintenance, garden clearing and maintenance, snow clearance and gritting and supporting Housing Supervisors ensure that resident’s satisfaction remains high and customer requirements are met.

In partnership with Birmingham City Council, Optimum Skills have developed this programme to progress your personal and social development, improving your work related skills around attitude and behaviour in a work environment. This is a pioneering new opportunity, with the full support of many major employers that are working locally.

Are you?

  • 19 years of age and over?
  • Currently unemployed and claiming job seeking benefits?
  • Committed to updating your skills and knowledge through completion of qualifications and work experience placement?
  • Able to commit to a 12 week programme?

If you are interested please call 01325 311832 and ask to speak to someone about Traineeships or text Ian Barnhurst on 07850493995.


New website offers housing advice

A new website providing housing advice to people in Birmingham has been launched by the City Council’s Housing Options service.

Birmingham Housing Options is a one-stop shop offering advice and information to social housing tenants, private tenants and homeowners.

The website focuses on four key areas:

  1. Staying At Home – looking at everything from reporting repairs and adapting your home for accessibility to dealing with rent or mortgage arrears and understanding your housing rights.
  2. Finding a home – how to apply for council and housing association properties, private rented accommodation and housing for older people.
  3. Advice and assistance – looking at support services for homelessness and domestic abuse.
  4. A supply and demand section that provides information regarding the number of council properties available for letting and the demand for these.

This website answers the most frequently asked questions about housing options in Birmingham and I’m sure it will prove invaluable to people across the city.  There’s a wealth of information on the availability of homes in Birmingham, the support services that people may need at different stages of their lives and the help that is available in times of crisis.

My annual report to Scrutiny

Yesterday I gave my annual report to the Council’s Social Cohesion and Community Safety Scrutiny Committee on the work I’ve been doing as a member of the City Council’s Cabinet.

I took questions from Councillors on a wide range of issues, including the Council’s efforts to tackle inequality in the city, the impact of the Bedroom Tax and other welfare changes and the progress we’ve been making with the Birmingham Fair Money campaign. You can watch a recording of the meeting and read a copy of my report by following this link.

Standing Up For Birmingham

Standing Up for BirminghamBirmingham City Council is facing an enormous financial challenge due to the unfair spending decisions of the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition Government, which is taking millions away from cities like ours.

This year alone, Birmingham has received a cut equivalent to £149 for each person in the city. Nationally, the average cut is just £79 per head.  In some places, for example Wokingham, the cut is just £19 per head.  This is starving our city of its fair share of money to fund services.

The unfair funding means that we will have to take some tough decisions.  Current forecasts are that the City Council will need to have found £840m in the six years from 2010/11 to 2017/18 as a result of spending pressures and grant cuts – more than two thirds of the budget we have any choice over how to spend. This year alone, the Council has to make cuts in the region of £120m.

The scale of the cuts means that some services will change substantially over the coming years.  Others may well cease altogether.  The Council will lose another 1000 staff this year, in addition to the one third of the workforce that has left since 2010.

Last week, the Council launched a public consultation on the budget proposals.  You can read the detailed proposals by clicking here.  Despite the challenges, we are determined to protect as many front-line services as we can and defend the most vulnerable and hardest pressed residents.  We’ve ensured that money is available to secure the future of important local leisure facilities like Shard End Community Centre.  We’re investing extra into the vital children’s safeguarding services and extending our commitment to fighting poverty pay by extending the Living Wage to those providing social care on behalf of the Council.

You can make your comments on the proposals on-line by following this link.

We’ve also launched a “call to arms” to demand a fairer deal for Birmingham and to bring together residents, voluntary organisations and community groups to help us meet this challenge.  Standing Up For Birmingham is about all of us working together for the future of our neighbourhoods, our communities and our city.  To find out more and to get involved, please visit the website here.

Calling all green-fingered tenants!

Hodge Hill Gardening Comp

Application Form


Could Birmingham Energy Savers help you?

Earlier this month, I helped to launch Birmingham Energy Savers, a new programme designed to help residents save money on their fuel bills.

The official statistics show that more than one in four Birmingham households are classed as being in fuel poverty.  These numbers are certainly borne out by my own experience of trying to help residents who are struggling to meet the costs of heating their homes, often in the face of rising costs.

Birmingham Energy Savers will help residents by carrying out a home audit to identify energy efficiency measures and recommending a “Green Deal Plan” of improvements.  Crucially, the scheme allows residents to pay for some or all of the improvements by instalments through their electricity bill.  Repayments will cost no more than a typical household should save through energy costs.

The programme should reduce residents’ energy bills by up to £300 a year, which would take up to 40,000 Brummies out of fuel poverty by 2015.  It will also help to create more jobs for Birmingham residents, providing a direct investment in skills and opportunities for local people.

To find out more, please visit the Birmingham Energy Savers website.