It’s been seven years since Phil Eves, BAM’s Education Co-ordinator in the Midlands, began working with the West Midlands Police and The Princes’ Trust 12 week pre-employment programme – TEAM to transform the lives of students from deprived families or with criminal backgrounds across Birmingham. 

“The relationship started when BAM was working on the BEORMA Quarter project and the police, who were stationed next door at Digbeth Police Station, asked us what we could do to help them support the community” recounts Phil. “Since then, we have been helping to run the Trust’s TEAM programme, which gives young people aged 16-25 the skills and confidence they need to enter the workforce”.

The BAM team undertake the introduction to employment and help deliver a unit on health and safety. We also take part in a Dragons’ Den styled session, where the students pitch to us and the supply chain, to obtain money for a community project. The first project we carried out was refurbishing the church hall on James Turner Street and to date we have delivered a total of 12 projects across Birmingham. BAM also provide work experience placements in partnership with BAM FM at sites throughout the region and carry out CV reviews and mock interview workshops. 

Staff at West Midlands Police said “Phil treat’s each student with respect, giving them purpose and belonging”. Phil said ‘By the end of the 12 weeks we hope that everyone is able to stand up in front of someone to get a job and that is life transforming”.

As a result of the program, we have managed to place six individuals into six trades including fire protection, groundworks, carpentry, dry lining, plastering and demolition, and all six of them will work towards a qualification such as an NVQ or an apprenticeship. It has also allowed BAM to support its supply chain by helping them to find the good staff they need. 

We recognise that not everyone on the program is interested in a career in construction, so all the skills that the participants gain are transferable to any sector. It also helps that the community has been so supportive of our work, telling us to ‘keep doing what we are doing because its making such a difference’.  

“When I was starting out someone gave me a chance and opened some a doors for me” says Phil “It has always been my mission to pay it forward and give that opportunity to others where we can’.

Phil’s work on the program was recognised by West Midlands Police, who nominated him for a West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Thank You Award in 2021. He was shortlisted in his category by the Force, who commented ‘He always gives everyone an equal opportunity to prove that they deserve a chance to fulfil their potential and change their lives for the better’.

His next challenge is looking at how a similar programme can be developed for other parts of the Midlands and is also working on a case study for Birmingham City Council to get other companies involved.