Panel reveals how businesses can support the next generation of talent

Rebecca Young (HS2), Anna Cooper (The Business Desk) and Rebecca Waterfield (South & City College)

Businesses across the region joined to learn how they can make a difference to students of the West Midlands.

Joining us at South & City College’s Karibunis Restaurant, guests heard from Rebecca Young, Skills & Employment Supply Chain Manager at HS2 and Rebecca Waterfield, Director of Business Development at South & City College on how adding students to the workforce can transform businesses.

Student chefs at South & City College’s Karibunis Restaurant

Attendees also had the chance to sample contemporary dining styles from some of the region’s most promising young chefs at South & City College’s Karibunis Restaurant whilst networking.

South & City College supports some of the most deprived areas in the region, with students embarking on a more challenging educational journey than most.

Waterfield said: “For some students, they start their journey from here in Birmingham to John O’Groats, but for our students, they are starting all the way down in Lands End.

“Your business can truly make a difference by giving students fantastic opportunities to drive their careers forward”.

With eight campuses and centres across Birmingham, the college provides education and training to over 20,000 students each year, the vast majority of which are engaged with the business community.

As T-Levels come into play, South & City are working with employers to raise the profile of the qualification and help develop the attitude and skills of students to thrive in the workplace.

Companies are able to develop students into their own business practices and help create a pipeline of talent for junior positions. Staff are also able to adopt roles such to train young people, adding to job satisfaction whilst you gain an extra pair of hands.

For HS2, Young revealed how it has worked with around 340 apprentices in the West Midlands, with HS2 Ltd setting targets for the contractors it works with to help develop future talent.

She said: “Long before HS2 trains start arriving in the West Midlands, Britain’s biggest infrastructure project is delivering for the region. Just under 7,000 people living in the West Midlands have found jobs with HS2, plus hundreds of formerly unemployed helped into work, and apprenticeships and T-Levels helping to train the country’s next generation of engineers, builders and more.

“HS2 is the UK’s flagship Levelling Up project and we remain committed to driving investment and opportunities into the West Midlands.”

Recently HS2 Ltd has tripped its investment into T-Levels and works with colleges such as South & City to ensure students have direct pathways into employment in their specialist field.

If you’d like to discuss how your business can level up the future generation then get in touch with: or call 0121 694 5066