West Midlands Combined Authority has joined forces with global online learning platform, Coursera, to upskill the region’s workforce and help those who are unemployed, or have recently been made redundant or furloughed.

From 10 September WMCA will be offering free online training through Coursera to all its residents to help either help people get back into work, to reskill or improve existing skills.

West Midlands Combined Authority will be using Coursera’s Workforce Recovery Initiative to help people who may have lost their job or recently been furloughed, and is in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The programme offers 3,800 online courses and 400 specialisations from some of the world’s leading university and industry educators including Imperial College London, Stanford University and Yale University. Residents will also have access to Professional Certificates, like the Google IT Support Professional Certificate.

Coursera courses span popular university subjects like engineering, business, data science, health, and the arts, and are divided into weekly modules with video and reading lessons. It will provide high-quality, job-relevant online learning to West Midlands residents at the time when it is most needed. Course performance is assessed via quizzes and peer assignments, with learners receiving a certificate upon completion.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Jobs are at the heart of the West Midlands’ plan to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic, and we must do everything we can to either keep people in work or help to those who fall out get back in as fast as feasibly possible.

“Upskilling and reskilling are great ways for people to either improve their current employment or help find new work, and I am therefore delighted that West Midlands Combined Authority has struck this deal with Coursera to provide online courses for people of all ages across the West Midlands.

“Today’s announcement builds on the great work of our many training providers who are already providing resources for people across the region to improve their skills. I would everyone to visit the West Midlands Combined Authority’s website and see for themselves what opportunities are on offer at this challenging time.”

Coursera students can study at their own pace, helping them fit in their studies with home, family and work commitments.

Coursera students can study at their own pace, helping them fit in their studies with home, family and work commitments.

“Coursera is honoured to partner with the West Midlands Combined Authority to support residents whose jobs have been affected by the pandemic,” said Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera. “By accessing online courses and Guided Projects from the world’s top universities and industry educators, residents can quickly learn in-demand skills to enter into careers.”

Cllr George Duggins, West Midlands Combined Authority portfolio lead for skills and productivity and leader of Coventry City Council said: “These courses have the potential to transform residents’ careers by providing them with the skills needed to find a job in the current competitive jobs market or to enhance their offering to their current employer. This initiative will benefit both workers and employers alike and in turn will benefit the West Midlands.”

Applicants have till 31st October to enrol and courses must be completed by 31st December. Courses completed after this date will be charged to obtain accreditation of their learning. To sign up to study visit https://beta.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/productivity-and-skills/coursera-portal-application/