HALESOWEN’s first Apprenticeship and Skills Fair attracted over 300 people and was branded a success by a Government minister.

The fair at the Zion Centre, which was organised by local MP James Morris, was opened by Matthew Hancock MP, the Minister for Skills.

Mr Hancock said: “It was great to see local businesses and colleges engaging with people who hope to improve their skills and employment prospects.

“It is important to showcase the opportunities available from employers and the links they have built with colleges so that the potential learners and apprentices can see what their education will go toward and what benefits it will have for the local economy.”

He added: "Apprenticeship fairs like this one, run by excellent local MP James Morris, are a vital way of illustrating the accessible and important routes to employment through apprenticeships and vocational education."

There were over 30 stands from local employers, colleges and training provider including Jaguar Land Rover, Sandvik and Hadley Group, Barhale, Aldi and National Express West Midlands.

And the event was supported by all of the area’s colleges, with Halesowen, Sandwell, Stourbridge, Dudley, Walsall and Birmingham Metropolitan College attending.

Mr Morris MP said: “Following on from the success of last summer’s Jobs Fair, I wanted to organise this event to showcase the wide range of apprenticeships available for people in Halesowen and Rowley Regis.”

Mr Morris is holding a construction summit on Friday, May 17, with local companies with an interest in building together with the Government’s Planning Minister Nick Boles MP.

He said: “As the co-chair of the Parliamentary Group on Local Growth, one of my top priorities is to find ways to break down the barriers to economic growth so that we can unlock the sector’s full potential, while protecting the quality of our local environment.

“That is why I am delighted that the Minister has agreed to come and meet with construction firms from across the Black Country.”