Black country

Offenders given building skills in Smethwick

A training centre where people convicted for gun and knife crime can learn building skills has been officially opened.

The Training Hub in Smethwick, West Midlands, has mostly been funded by private and European money.

Trainees take part in a 13-week course under the project based next to the probation centre on Rolfe Street.

VINCI Construction UK, which is putting money into the scheme, said it was committed to employing local people.

'Strong commitment'

The company will take trainees who come off the project.

Operations director at the firm, Tony Ford, said: "Of course there are risks. The important factor for us is it's giving training opportunities to help people along.

"We are a major employer locally. We are committed to sustainable communities.

"We have a real strong commitment within our organisation to employ local people."

The initiative has also involved Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

Head trainer at the new centre Adolphus Martins said the attitude of people on the scheme last week has been "quite good".

He said: "I've found a lot of them to be very hard workers. They are interested in change and learning something to put back into the community."

Mr Martins said training would be available in carpentry, plumbing and painting and decorating.

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