Building work has started on the new Central Library. Our current library, like Harborne Swimming Pool, was not maintained properly over a number of years while Labour were running Birmingham.
Towards the end of their term of office, the Labour administration came up with plans for a new central library. However there were two problems. Firstly it wasn’t central – they wanted to site it at Eastside. And secondly there was no funding in place for it.
However now the Conservative-led administration is delivering a new Central Library. It’s central (it will be in Centenary Square next to the Rep), we know where the money is coming from – and the total includes money which will be set aside for repairs. This is a sensible move to ensure we don’t end up in the same mess as Labour did, with no money to maintain important buildings.
The City has also set up a Library apprenticeship scheme where local young people are given pre-employment training and employment opportunities on the library project, thanks to a partnership between Birmingham City Council’s Employment Access scheme and the constructor partner, Carillion.
The first 9 apprentices from intakes last autumn have already started. First they undertake a 14 week training period in Erdington to widen their skills in either joinery or bricklaying. On successful completion of the course, they are offered an 18 month employment contract with Carillion and start to work on the library site.
The new library of Birmingham is an important part of the regeneration of Birmingham – providing an iconic building for a 21st century global city, while also helping local young people to start a career in the construction industry.