Colors: Purple Color

Covid-19 has cost some city and large town centres in the West Midlands more than half a year’s worth of potential takings since March 2020. This is according to Cities Outlook 2022 – Centre for Cities’ annual economic assessment of the UK’s largest urban areas.

Central Birmingham is worst affected, losing 46 weeks of sales between the first lockdown and Omicron’s onset. Businesses in Coventry and Stoke city centres are also among the worst hit.

German heating, industrial and refrigeration systems manufacturer Viessmann has bolstered its heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) expertise with the acquisition of Durham-based Pacifica Home Services Ltd (PHS) – with the support of Midlands law firm Shakespeare Martineau.

PHS is a specialist in both installation and maintenance of integrated HVAC solutions with a further specialisation in heat pumps, and is well-known to end customers under the brand 0800 Repair.

FareShare Midlands is building on its overall mission to fight hunger and tackle food waste, by creating opportunities through their employability programmes. With an ambition by 2024 to support​400 people into vocational training, placements or paid work, this year the charity has already shown impressive success across the schemes.

In Birmingham, the I-CAN employability programme in partnership with the PURE Employment Service (funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund) is a six-week programme of classroom and work experience to help individuals aged over 25 to develop the skills, knowledge and expertise they require to enter training and employment in the warehousing and logistics sector.

The Chancellor held a virtual roundtable with small businesses to launch Help to Grow: Digital, designed to support smaller businesses adopt new tech to help them thrive.

Rishi Sunak hosted the call with over 30 businesses from across the UK at CineBowl in Uttoxeter on January 20th to mark the launch of the scheme, where he spoke to people on a big screen about their experiences before taking part in a Q&A session. The scheme includes a dedicated website providing free advice and support and software vouchers to boost productivity and help businesses grow.

Major Midland employers including Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Severn Trent Water will be amongst the organisations at next month’s apprenticeship open day at Make UK in Birmingham, which will also feature apprentice vacancies with immediate starts.

As well as the chance to speak to potential employers and members of the Make UK team, the free event on Saturday February 12th will spotlight the incredible opportunities available in engineering and manufacturing, and include several ‘have a go’ activities - including a Lean Tyre Challenge, F1 Track and 3D printing.

Covid-19 has cost businesses in Birmingham city centre 46 weeks’ worth of potential takings since March 2020. This is according to Cities Outlook 2022 – Centre for Cities’ annual economic assessment of the UK’s largest urban areas.

Birmingham’s lost sales are the biggest of any city or town centre in the West Midlands and the second biggest in the country after London.