Get your free working space at our Sandwell Start-Up Hub

Aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners can work from our new Sandwell Start-Up Hub in Oldbury.

If you have a new business (trading for less than two years) in Sandwell, you could qualify for a free working space for twelve months up to March 2025.

Sandwell Start-Up Hub, located in Jack Judge House, Oldbury, B69 2AJ, is available from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. It offers free welcoming workspaces including collaborative spaces, kitchen facilities, free WiFi, and meeting rooms for hire.

We want you to thrive and grow

Councillor Peter Hughes is Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and West Midlands Combined Authority. He said: “We want our local businesses to thrive and grow. It’s one of our priorities. Whether you are looking to collaborate, or you’re a new entrepreneur seeking resources, we want this hub to be your gateway to success.”

You may also be able to get additional expert guidance and resources via the Sandwell Enterprise Programme.

Get to know Jericho

Jericho operates seven social enterprises to support people who face challenges in getting a job. It is holding an open day in Birmingham on Thursday 2 May, where businesses can learn about the charity and how they can support its aims.

Jericho says its seven social enterprises across Birmingham “provide work opportunities and individualised support for people who face real and significant challenges in getting a job”.

“These could include trauma, insufficient work experience, health and wellbeing needs, education barriers and communication challenges”.

At the open day, at Edgbaston Golf Club, you will hear about ways your business could support Jericho and its aims. You could boost your corporate social responsibility and differentiate your business from its competitors – or just do something that makes you and your team feel good.


The event takes place from 3pm to 5pm on Thursday 2 May. To book your place, email hello@jericho.org.uk.

Sandwell is 50: share your stories

Share your stories of Sandwell to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our borough.

In 1947 our six towns of Sandwell – Oldbury, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, Tipton, Wednesbury and West Bromwich – were brought together under our current boundaries. As you know, a lot has happened in the half century since.

To celebrate the occasion, Sandwell Council is appealing for residents to share their memories of Sandwell. The Sandwell Business Growth team is encouraging businesses and organisations to do the same. We’d love to hear your stories of workplace successes, events and characters from the last 50 years.

Share your Sandwell stories with the world

We also welcome photos and videos. It’s great to see how Sandwell has, or hasn’t, changed over the years. Sandwell Council will feature some of the most notable contributions on its social media channels, on its website and in a special article in the Sandwell Herald. And we may well share your business stories here on the Sandwell Business Growth website.

If you have something special you’d like to share, get in touch. Let’s showcase half a century of significant and surprising Sandwell stories.

Share your Sandwell stories

Email the team

The West Midlands is also 50 this year! Head over to the Sandwell Business Ambassadors’ website to learn about a ’50forWM’ campaign, to honour inspirational volunteers.

New trees for a greener Sandwell

Sandwell Council is marking the completion of the first stage of a series of tree planting projects.

The council has committed to making the borough a greener and more welcoming place. As part of this drive it is undertaking a series of tree planting projects. So far, it has planted 1,000 trees and 300 shrubs at Yew Tree and Painswick Close open spaces.

The site was chosen for planting following discussions with the local community. The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) funded the site along with the Woodland Trust as part of its MoreWoods Project.

This initiative is the first of a series of tree planting projects taking place across the region.

This phase of the project has been coordinated with the WMCA through the Virtual Forest initiative. Since 2020, almost 600,000 newly planted trees have been registered by residents, businesses and local authorities.

Green and pleasant borough

Councillor Charn Singh Padda, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said:

 “This project shows how important it is for us as a council to ensure that Sandwell is a green and pleasant borough in which to live and to visit. I look forward to seeing more and more projects such as this throughout the borough.”

Regeneration

Councillor Peter Hughes, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and WMCA, said:

“Sometimes people may think of regeneration as being solely about projects such as large construction sites but this kind of project is also vital. It ensures that Sandwell and the West Midlands are places in which people want to do business.”

Greener future

Ben Green, Woodland Trust external affairs officer, added:

“It’s inspiring to see the first phase of these tree planting projects underway with 100% UK and Ireland sourced and grown native trees. These efforts, in coordination with the Woodland Trust and West Midlands Combined Authority, reflect our shared commitment to a more vibrant, sustainable community. By prioritising locally-sourced trees, we’re not only enhancing our landscapes but also safeguarding against harmful pest and disease importation. Together, we’re shaping a greener, healthier future for all.”

To read more about what makes Sandwell great visit our social value page.

Find out more about the MoreWoods Project on the Woodland Trust website.

Could you be a school governor?

Sandwell Council has launched a campaign to encourage local people to join school governing bodies. Here’s why being a school governor is valuable for you and your business.

Over a quarter of a million people volunteer to govern our schools in England. Their work, while often going unnoticed, has significant benefits for children and young people. It can also be a very rewarding experience for governors themselves – and the organisations they work for.

That’s why Sandwell Council is launching a campaign to encourage more local people onto school governing bodies.

What do school governors do?

Every school has a governing body of volunteers – ‘governors’ – who use their unique community knowledge, life experience and skills to make the school the best it can be. 

Although governors aren’t involved in the day-to-day running of a school, governing bodies meet regularly to set long-term goals, monitor progress and decide how budget is spent. They oversee policies, including those which protect the safety and wellbeing of staff and students.    

Who can be a governor?

You don’t need specific qualifications to govern at a school. It’s also a common misconception that you need to be a teacher, a parent, or have a background in education. Governing bodies need people from a range of professional backgrounds. They seek people with experience in disciplines such as strategic planning, finance, people management and health and safety – to name but a few.

In fact, the experience and skills needed to be part of a successful business are also vital in school governing bodies. That’s why Sandwell Council is reaching out to our business community for potential volunteers.

Responsibilities, training and commitment

As a governor, you would always have an induction and ongoing training, ensuring you understand your role and responsibilities and how to fulfil them. Governing bodies are collectively responsible for their decisions, so you would have individual liability only in limited circumstances. 

The time commitment for being a governor varies for each school. As a guide, it may start from around twenty hours in a year, with meetings roughly every other month – occasionally some in between. Meetings tend to take place in the evenings, so as many people as possible can attend. Sometimes, you may be able to attend remotely.

Why governing is good for business

Encouraging your staff to volunteer as governors is a great way of raising your business’ profile in the community, and showing social value.

Also, the skills that your employees will develop through being school governors can be brought back into the workplace. Through school governing, staff at all levels can experience what it is like to serve on a board that analyses, debates and makes decisions linked to improvement plans, financial strategy, performance management, infrastructure projects and partnership working.

So if you are committed to developing people and improving performance, having school governors among your workforce is an excellent business move.

‘Best CPD I have ever undertaken’

Steve Edmonds is from Sandwell Council’s Leader and Cabinet office. He and his team are keen to get local businesses to encourage more volunteer governors into Sandwell schools.

“People like me, who serve as governors, find the experience incredibly rewarding and gain fulfilment from using their skills and experience to support schools and communities, whilst at the same time contributing their ongoing development,” said Steve. “I can honestly say that carrying out my duties as a school governor is the best CPD I have ever undertaken”.

Meanwhile, Brian Cape is a Sandwell Business Ambassador and the CEO of SIPS Education. His Sandwell not-for-profit organisation is also promoting the benefits of being a school governor.

Brian said: “People with business skills are a real asset on school governance boards. It’s also an important part of community life that employers and business owners can support as part of their corporate social responsibility. Plus governors can play a part in developing future talent. Business and education have a lot to offer each other.”

Want to know more?

There are vacancies for school governors across Sandwell. To put yourself forward as a governor, you can complete an online application form, which Sandwell Council will use to match you to a suitable vacancy:

EmpowerHER: A Celebration of Women’s Leadership in the West Midlands

Calling all champions of women’s empowerment! EmpowerHER is an evening dedicated to acknowledging the remarkable achievements of female leaders in the West Midlands region.

Join Business Growth West Midlands (BGWM) for EmpowerHER, a special event to celebrate success, build connections, and inspire the leaders of the future.

The evening event takes place on Tuesday 19 March at the Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham.

BGWM says this isn’t just any gathering. It’s a chance to honour the amazing accomplishments
of female leaders in the West Midlands, while making meaningful connections and finding inspiration for your own leadership journey.

Hear from Laura Shoaf, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority, as she shares her experiences, successes and strategies for overcoming obstacles in leadership.

Hear stories and get business opportunities

You can hear stories from other female leaders in the West Midlands. Learn from their experiences, the hurdles they’ve faced, and the moments that have defined their journeys.

Discover opportunities with Business Growth West Midlands (BGWM) Business Support Programmes to help you reach your goals.

Have a buffet dinner while networking with fellow attendees.

This event is FREE to attend for businesses in the West Midlands region. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund has funded it. Business Growth West Midlands is the host.

There are limited spaces. Register now to secure your space.

Understanding the power of innovation: from Innovate Local

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has partnered with Innovate UK to hold an Innovate Local event in the West Midlands on Tuesday 12 March. The event will feature funding masterclasses and innovation accelerator sessions.

At the free half-day Innovate Local event attendees will be able to listen to keynote speeches from Innovate UK and WMCA, as well as attend panel sessions with local businesses.

It takes place at the Very Light Rail Innovation Centre in Dudley.

The agenda covers how to:

  • Drive business growth – learn how innovation can lead to increased profitability, market share and customer loyalty
  • Boost competitiveness – discover how staying ahead of industry trends and embracing innovation can give your business a competitive edge
  • Foster resilience – in today’s ever-changing business landscape, innovation is a key driver of adaptability and long-term success.

Who should attend?

The event is aimed at businesses based in and around the West Midlands. It has been designed to help you understand the power of innovation and its practical applications, regardless of whether your business is a small start-up or an established enterprise.

Why attend?

Attendees will have the chance to:

  • Connect with innovation experts and potential collaborators
  • Discover the opportunities and incentives for ambitious innovators and businesses in the region
  • Network with like-minded professionals from the West Midlands thriving business community.
  • Take your next practical step towards transforming your business through innovation.

To see the full agenda for the day and to register please visit the Innovate UK website.

Find out about WMCA by visiting https://www.wmca.org.uk.

Get Connected in Sandwell – breakfast event

Join us at a free networking event on Thursday 7 March to celebrate International Women’s Day and National Careers Week.

Sandwell Business Growth has collaborated with Sandwell College and Black Country Chamber of Commerce to host our fourth free business breakfast networking event – Get Connected in Sandwell – on Thursday 7 March.

The event is taking place at our Sandwell Start-Up Hub in Jack Judge House, Oldbury, from 7.30am – 9am. Come along to hear from our inspiring speakers about how they can support your business.

To celebrate both International Women’s Day and National Careers Week, we have three inspirational female speakers representing education and senior leadership, engineering and technology, and inclusive workplace training.

We are delighted to welcome Julia Stevens, Vice Principal of Sandwell College as the event host. All of our guest speakers will discuss ways in which they can help support your organisation.

Our guest speakers are:

Anne Scrimshaw – Fab Lab Manager

Anne will be talking about what Industry 4.0 technologies can do for your business.

Vinita Simon – ACP Group Community Engagement Officer

Vinita will be asking: is your workplace menopause aware?

Breakfast

As always, there will be a free breakfast and plenty of opportunities to network.

We really do hope that you are able to join us at our next business breakfast networking event and look forward to seeing you there.

Please advise if you have any specific dietary requirements when you book your tickets.

For more business and tender opportunities visit our business opportunities page.

Come to our Sandwell ‘meet the buyer’ networking events

Sandwell Council has partnered with Constructing West Midlands and the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust to host two ‘meet the buyer’ networking events in March.

The first meet the buyer event takes place on Wednesday 6 March [now fully booked]. This is followed by the second event on Tuesday 19 March. Both events are being held at West Bromwich Albion Football Club.

Wednesday 6 March: Constructing West Midlands [fully booked]

The first event offers the opportunity to connect with top contractors and construction industry decision-makers. You can talk to representatives from local authorities and housing associations, as well as contractors from the Constructing West Midlands framework:

  • Galliford Try
  • GF Tomlinson
  • Interclass
  • ISG
  • Morgan Sindall
  • Seddon
  • Spellar Metcalfe
  • Willmott Dixon.

There will be presentations on opportunities stemming from major projects – including in Sandwell’s Regeneration Pipeline.

Attendees will also be able to hear presentations on where to find business opportunities and how to register for them. As well as the benefits of community wealth building, social value and sustainability, plus tender-writing tips.

After the presentations you’ll have time to network over lunch.

For more information about Constructing West Midlands visit the website.

Tuesday 19 March: Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust

At the second meet the buyer event on Tuesday 19 March you can talk to procurement representatives from the NHS, local authorities, housing associations and more.

The event will focus on upcoming opportunities such as the Learning Campus in Smethwick and other major projects. During the day you will have the opportunity to talk to buyers and procurement teams. 

After the presentations you can network over lunch.

Get more information about Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS.

More information about both events

At both events you will have the opportunity to meet exhibitors to talk about:

  • Recruitment and training with the Think Sandwell employment and skills team
  • Business opportunities from Find It In The Black Country
  • Digital inclusion
  • Inclusion and ‘giving back’ with the Care Leaver Covenant
  • Shaping the workforce of the future
  • The green agenda and net zero support.

Why are we holding these events?

When Sandwell businesses thrive, they create jobs, raise aspirations, boost skills and generate wealth for our local economy. You’re Sandwell’s lifeblood – and so we want to champion your business at every stage. Getting you face to face with influential buyers and decision makers is just one of our many ways to help.

‘Meet the buyer’ networking event – with the NHS

Sandwell Council, in partnership with the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS, is holding a ‘meet the buyer’ event on Tuesday 19 March.

Please note that this event is now fully booked.

The meet the buyer event is an opportunity for you to connect with industry decision-makers, find tender opportunities and network. During the day attendees will be able to meet with key buyers, showcase their offerings and explore new business opportunities.

The event is taking place on Tuesday 19 March at West Bromwich Albion Football Club (10am to 3.30pm).

There will be presentations on:

  • Upcoming opportunities such as the Learning Campus in Smethwick and other major projects
  • Where to find business opportunities and how to register for them
  • Community wealth building, social value and sustainability – their benefits to your business.
  • ‘Making social value less scary and more relevant to you’ and tender-writing tips.

After the presentations you will have the opportunity to network over lunch with other business people.

You will have the chance to talk to procurement representatives from the NHS, local authorities, housing associations and more.

You can also meet exhibitors to talk about:

  • Recruitment and training with the Think Sandwell employment and skills team
  • Business opportunities from Find It In The Black Country
  • Digital inclusion
  • Inclusion and ‘giving back’ with the Care Leaver Covenant
  • Shaping the workforce of the future
  • The green agenda and net zero support.

During the afternoon you will have the opportunity to talk to buyers and procurement teams. However, due to the high number of delegates and buyers there will be no allocated individual time slots for delegates.

For more information about social enterprise support in Sandwell visit our social enterprise page.

To find procurement opportunities and to find tenders visit our business opportunities page.

For more information about Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS visit the website.

‘Meet the buyer’ networking event – with Constructing West Midlands

Sandwell Council, in partnership with Constructing West Midlands, is holding a ‘meet the buyer’ event on Wednesday 6 March.

This event is now fully booked. See our other meet the buyer event, with the NHS, on Wednesday 19 March.

The meet the buyer event on Wednesday 6 March is an opportunity for you to connect with top contractors and industry decision-makers.

 You can talk to representatives from local authorities and housing associations, as well as contractors from the Constructing West Midlands framework:

  • Galliford Try
  • GF Tomlinson
  • Interclass
  • ISG
  • Morgan Sindall
  • Seddon
  • Spellar Metcalfe
  • Willmott Dixon.

The event is taking place on Wednesday 6 March at West Bromwich Albion Football Club (9.30am to 4pm).

There will be presentations on:

  • Upcoming opportunities from major projects – including Sandwell’s Regeneration Pipeline
  • Where to find business opportunities and how to register for them
  • Community wealth building, social value and sustainability, and their benefits to your business
  • Tender-writing tips – and the business-winning benefits of social value.

After the presentations you will have the opportunity to network over lunch with other business people.

You can also meet exhibitors to talk about:

  • Recruitment and training with the Think Sandwell employment and skills team
  • Business opportunities from Find It In The Black Country
  • Digital inclusion
  • Inclusion and ‘giving back’ with Care Leaver Covenant
  • Shaping the workforce of the future
  • Green agenda and net zero support.

The event will finish with the chance to talk to contractors from the Constructing West Midlands framework, local authorities, housing associations and more.

For more information about Constructing West Midlands, visit the website.

To find procurement opportunities and to find tenders visit our Business opportunities page.

Sandwell Workplace Walking and Wheeling Competition

Join in the Sandwell Walking and Wheeling Competition for a chance to win a £50 shopping voucher! 

An active travel officer from Sandwell Council is working closely with Sustrans to encourage Sandwell residents to move more – through walking, wheeling, cycling or running. 

Sustrans is a national charity that works for and with communities, supporting walking, wheeling and cycling to create healthier places and happier lives for everyone.

The charity is running a ‘Sandwell Workplace Walking and Wheeling Competition’, funded by Transport for West Midlands, during tFebruary. The competition is aimed at workplaces in Sandwell. The idea is to encourage workers to go for a roll or stroll during their break times. 

Sandwell workers can choose any seven days in February to go for a stroll, or a roll if they are wheelchair/ mobility scooter users. All they have to do then is complete an online entry form to explain what they enjoyed about their strolls or rolls for a chance to win a £50 shopping voucher. 

There will also be a winning workplace certificate for the Sandwell workplace that does the best!   

Who can enter?

Anyone living in Sandwell who would like to spend more time walking or wheeling around their local neighbourhood can enter. However, the competition is primarily aimed at people working at workplaces within Sandwell.

How to enter

Choose seven days in February to go for a roll or a stroll. Let Sustrans know what you enjoyed most about each walk or wheel using the online competition form. 

The competition closes at 11.59pm on Thursday 29 February. 

One winner will be contacted before Friday 8 March to claim their voucher. A top workplace will also be announced by Friday 8 March. 

To enter complete a competition entry form here.

For more information about Sustrans visit the website.

Social Enterprise Boost Fund from Access to Business

Access to Business is working with iSE to deliver the West Midlands Social Enterprise Boost Fund in Wolverhampton and Sandwell. This initiative aims to kick start and accelerate social enterprise activity across the region.

The SEB Fund runs until March 2025 and offers a range of grants and targeted business support. Its aim is to help new and existing social enterprises start up, scale up and grow. Organisers will also collect and share evidence on the impact of social enterprises on communities in the local area.

Are you eligible for a Social Enterprise Boost?

You need to be a Wolverhampton or Sandwell resident to apply to the Social Enterprise Boost Fund. You have to be thinking about starting a business, or have an existing business that is less than five years old, with an annual turnover under £250K. 

Your business doesn’t have to be officially registered as a community interest company (CIC) for you to apply to the fund. A wide variety of social businesses are eligible.

What does the fund offer?

New social entrepreneurs can attend a series of FUSE Start Up courses over the next two years, plus CIC Start sessions to help you register your new enterprise. Owners of more established businesses can attend a series of social enterprise MOT programmes. These cover topics such as contract readiness, social impact and managing people.

The fund will also provide one-to-one business support and networking, tailored to your specific needs. All recipients of business support will also be able to apply for a range of grant funding, up to a maximum of £10K.

Learn more about the Social Enterprise Boost Fund at the A2B website.

Kerching! Sell more with social shopping: webinar

Learn how to sell more with social shopping. Boost sales through Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and more. Business Growth West Midlands is hosting a webinar on Thursday 14 March aimed at businesses that sell physical products online.

Younger audiences use social media to browse for things to buy. They see celebrities using a product, they share content with their friends, and buy through social media platforms.

If your business is in the West Midlands selling physical products to a consumer market, embracing social shopping could open up a new channel of sales for your business. This webinar covers the principles of how to set up your social media accounts to achieve this.

Who should attend?

The webinar is for businesses in the West Midlands region that sell physical products online and are looking at additional avenues to generate sales. 

If your business involves services and digital products lookout for our future webinars and workshops.

Social shopping topics

The webinar will cover:

  • How certain demographics use social media to discover products
  • The transition from bricks and mortar to online
  • Benefits of social shopping to consumers and businesses
  • Different platforms with shopping options: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok
  • The process of setting up your store
  • Examples from national and West Midlands-based businesses
  • Tips to succeed.

Outcomes

You will leave with an understanding of the potential social shopping offers your business and the next actions you need to take to start to learn how to implement it.

This event is free to attend. It is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and hosted by Business Growth West Midlands.

Find out more about Business Growth West Midlands here.

To learn about more ways to promote your business visit our Promote your business page.

Webinar: email marketing 101 for businesses

Learn to improve your business through effective email marketing. Discover the essentials of connecting, engaging, and growing your audience at a webinar hosted by Business Growth West Midlands on Thursday 28 March.

Email marketing is a tried and trusted way to make and maintain a connection with your customers and prospects. In a world driven by algorithms, email has the advantage of a recipient choosing whether to open what you create or not. All those opens of your emails are people wanting to hear what you have to say.

How do you take advantage of this customer intent and get people to open your emails when they receive them? How can you create a strategy that will get people signing up to hear more from you? What should you write about and how do you add value as well as promote offers?

This workshop will cover some of the essentials of email marketing including: 

  • Content 
  • Software 
  • Strategies for increasing your mailing list.

Who should attend?

The webinar is aimed at business owners in the West Midlands looking to start an email list or develop a robust email marketing strategy.

Things it will cover:

  • Why email is still an incredible marketing opportunity
  • Choosing a platform
  • Building and growing your email list
  • Different types of campaigns
  • Crafting an email that connects with your audience and builds trust
  • Writing a great subject line that makes people open
  • A/B testing
  • Understanding metrics to decide your next move.

Outcomes

You will leave with an understanding of the essentials of email marketing for your business and a plan to grow your audience. You will also be armed and ready to start emailing your list and help your business grow.

This event is free to attend. It is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and hosted by Business Growth West Midlands.

Find out more about Business Growth West Midlands here.

To learn about more ways to promote your business visit our Promote your business page.

Brum Rocks: Sandwell business event

Misfits Music Foundation is holding a business networking evening at Thimblemill Library on Thursday 21 March. There, you can learn about its Brum Rocks project.

Misfits Music Foundation is a local charity that holds community music activities for wellbeing in Birmingham and Sandwell. 

This year, the Misfits team is running a huge project called Brum Rocks. They are holding workshops across Birmingham and Sandwell, for adults who sing or play any instrument. These workshops will culminate in a Rock Extravaganza Finale Event in July 2024, with hundreds of people coming to sing and play together in Birmingham city centre.

To tell local businesses about Brum Rocks, Misfits invites you to a business networking evening on Thursday 21 March (7-9pm). Learn about sponsorship and volunteering opportunities, for an event that is likely to achieve a great deal of media coverage.

Brum Rocks logo in a plectrum shape

Over a glass of wine or soft drink and samosa, you’ll get to see a Brum Rocks workshop in action. This is thanks to members of Misfits’ Bearwood Rock Collective. You will also have time to network with people from other Sandwell-based businesses.

Send a message to rosie@misfitsmusic.org.uk if you’d like to attend. Tell her you heard about this event on the Sandwell Business Growth website.

National Apprenticeship Week 2024: two Sandwell success stories

For National Apprenticeship Week 2024, we share two stories about successful apprentices in Sandwell: Callum in carpentry and Paige in plastering!

National Apprenticeship Week 2024 takes place between Monday 5 and Sunday 11 February. It’s a chance to celebrate apprentices, their achievements, and the positive impact they make on communities, businesses and the wider economy.

Sandwell Council recommends apprenticeships to local businesses as a way of investing in the future. You can train an employee to have the skills that are exactly right for your industry, in a cost-effective way. In the meantime, you are fostering a culture of development and learning in your workplace.

A social value commitment

So we also recognise apprenticeships as a social value commitment: a way to give back to Sandwell and its people.

Therefore, we have been very glad to hear about the progress of local resident Callum Farmer. Callum started with a trainee multi-trade position with building contractors E Manton, which led to an apprenticeship with Sandwell Council.

E Manton was the principal contractor working to expand the Ron Davis Centre in Smethwick. This is a learning hub run by Sandwell Adult and Family Learning Service (SAFL).

Funded by the Towns Fund, the £360k development added two new specialised digital classrooms to the Ron Davis Centre. It boosted the range of services that SAFL can offer.

The work enabled Callum to invest in tools and start saving for a car. Its varied nature – and further work with E. Manton – also allowed him to decide which area of the building trade suited him best.

Now Callum has gone on to do a carpentry apprenticeship with Sandwell Council’s Neighbourhoods Team. We hear that he is doing very well.

“I wanted to know how to get into a trade”

We’re also glad to hear about Paige, who is doing a three-year plastering apprenticeship.

Paige’s original plan was to work in the beauty industry. She had done a training course in beauty. She was also having one-to-one sessions with a mentor, who was helping her to find courses and look for suitable vacancies. The mentor was from Think Sandwell. This is Sandwell Council’s Employment and Skills Team, which helps local people into work and supports local employers to fill job and skills gaps in their workforce.

Paige’s career path took a change in direction, however, when her mum was having building work done on her home and struggling to find people to carry out work.

 “I realised that there was lots of work available and wanted to know how to get into a trade”, said Paige.

Responding to Paige’s change of heart, the Think Sandwell mentor arranged for Paige to do a construction overview course. This included training for a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. Carrying this card gives proof that an individual working on a construction site has the required training and qualifications for the type of work they carry out.

Paige got her CSCS card, and along the way, learned that she enjoyed plastering the most.

With support from Think Sandwell, Paige applied for relevant work experience placements. Soon, drywalling specialists DCL offered her an opportunity to work with them on the Windsor Olympus Academy site in Smethwick.

As a result of her strong work experience performance, DCL offered Paige a three-year plastering apprenticeship. She started it in April 2023.

Learning a skilled trade

Scott Joynes is a project manager at DCL. He said: “It’s nice to see younger age groups having an interest in learning a skilled trade. Having Paige on site has been a breath of fresh air, she certainly keeps us all on our toes. I started as an apprentice myself when I was sixteen and it’s great to see the support networks that are in place to support apprentices now.”

John Jacznik, director at DCL, said: “It’s refreshing to have someone with that enthusiasm on site. Her character and spirit will make her into a great asset. The support from Think Sandwell in finding an apprentice and setting up the apprenticeship has been a great example of partnership working”.

Learn more about apprenticeships in Sandwell – and read more social value stories.

Social media essentials webinar: LinkedIn

Business Growth West Midlands is hosting a series of webinars on social media essentials. Its latest one focuses on LinkedIn. This event caters specifically to businesses in the West Midlands region.

The webinar series ‘Social media essentials’ focuses on each of the major platforms. Each webinar goes through the essential information that you need to know about a platform one at a time.

The webinar taking place on Thursday 15 February will cover LinkedIn. LinkedIn claims to be the professional network and is popular with businesses as it enables them to connect with others and promote their organisations. 

This webinar outlines the basic principles for starting your journey on LinkedIn and explains the most effective methods for building loyalty.

Who should attend?

This webinar targets businesses in the West Midlands that want to improve their LinkedIn presence and learn key strategies for success.

Topics

The webinar will cover:

  • Why focusing on LinkedIn is a great idea for your business
  • Where the opportunity lies
  • Optimising your personal profile
  • Searching for leads
  • Company pages
  • The different content types in the platform.

Outcomes

Attendees will leave with a series of actions to maximise the potential that LinkedIn holds for their business. 

Additionally, you will gain the ability to advocate to others in your business about the importance of a LinkedIn strategy.

How to register

Hosted by Business Growth West Midlands, this event is free to attend. It is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Find out more about the event on the Business Growth West Midlands website.

To learn about more ways to promote your business visit our Promote your business page.

’Sales accelerator workshop’: sales training from Business Growth West Midlands

Business Growth West Midlands is offering a free sales accelerator workshop on Tuesday 27 February

This half-day sales accelerator event is for business owners and entrepreneurs in the West Midlands who want to boost their sales skills. It takes place at the TechnoCentre in Coventry. Experienced sales trainers Lindsey Newman-Wood and Iain Wood will be leading it.

The workshop will focus on practical strategies to increase sales. It will also be very interactive with plenty of discussions, case studies and hands-on activities.

Practical and interactive

Attendees can expect to learn lead generation tactics, acquire practical skills, develop sales strategies and network with other Midlands professionals.

Business Growth West Midlands works in collaboration with seven local authorities to help businesses in the region grow and develop. It has links with government, education and the private sector, and offers tailored support to businesses of any size and any sector.

Places are limited, so register now:

We’ve got more ideas for growing your Sandwell business.

‘Access to Finance’: taster session from Oxford Innovation Advice

Oxford Innovation Advice is giving a free interactive taster session for the Access to Finance programme on Thursday 21 March.

The Access to Finance programme offers guidance and support on business finance to West Midlands SMEs. The aim of the scheme is to demystify the world of business finance, enable growth and boost the regional economy.

This taster session is an opportunity to meet the Oxford Innovation Advice team and get an overview of the funding options available to businesses.

It takes place at our very own Sandwell Start-Up Hub here in Oldbury, from 10am to 3pm on Thursday 21 March.

The session will explore:

  • Debt finance and understanding interest rates
  • Alternative finance
  • Grant funding – is it free?
  • Crowdfunding – reward, social and equity
  • Angel investment and venture capital – when is it right for you?
  • The importance of creating a pitch deck or a business plan
  • Financial forecasting.

You can sign up via Eventbrite, or see other sessions on alternative dates.