Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who is set to speak at Somer Valley Campus today, will address the severe cost-of-living crisis and how it is now more important than ever that West of England residents get the skills they need. 

Speaking at his third annual Jobs and Skills Summit (this Wednesday at 12pm, Bath College Somer Valley Campus), Norris will announce an extra £6.5 million in funding for local people to upskill to progress into better paid work and learn the tools of the trade for the green jobs of the future. 

The Mayor says in an era of labour shortages, that the focus of jobs and skills provision must change. He says: “Wherever I go, employers tell me they can’t fill all their vacancies. Whether it’s bus drivers, chefs or retrofitters. I also know there are many new green jobs on the horizon. That should be good news for workers. There are plenty of jobs out there - but it’s my job to make sure local people have the right skills to benefit from them.”

The Mayor says his new funding will have a laser-like focus on areas of high demand. There will be free hands-on training courses focusing on areas where there are high levels of vacancies - including in the care, bus driving and retrofit sectors. 

The other side of the coin is in-work progression. “Jobs that let you get by aren’t enough, I want jobs that let you get on” says the Mayor. “That’s especially important in this cost-of-living crisis, and I’m pleased to be working with colleagues in the trade union movement to make this a reality.”

At the Summit, apprentices and those taking part in training courses will discuss their experiences at a series of interactive roundtables and make suggestions on how to improve skills training for the future. 

The Mayor will also meet students who are learning to service electric cars within purpose-built, Mayoral Combined Authority-funded workshops.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “Skills and training are a really important part of my role as Metro Mayor, and I’m proud that my Mayoral Combined Authority is helping over 10,000 people in our region every year get the skills they need to move into some really high-quality and well-paid jobs that meet the needs of employers. But I know we can do even better.

“Local people deserve good-quality, well-paid secure jobs in the West. This Summit is all about ensuring people can go on to earn more in their current roles or go onto secure better-paid jobs to help to ease the financial pressures so many are facing.”