DUDLEY Council has been taking steps to try and get more youngsters involved in the construction industry.

The council has joined forces with the Construction Youth Trust in an effort to explore employment opportunities.

The CYT has already held eight courses in the borough in the past 12 months reaching a total of 135 people in the 16 to 30 year age group.

They offer a unique approach by taking a mobile classroom into the heart of the community and targetting areas where there is a high level of disadvantaged youngsters.

Following the training sessions, selected youngsters were offered chance to work with Lovell's Partnerships, one of the council's construction contractors, and they took part in a four-week paid-for replacement to gain practical experience.

All the other trainees continued to work with the CYT and provided placements with other Dudley Council partners.

Andrea Pope Smith, director of Dudley's adult, community and housing services, said: "There is currently a skills shortage within the construction industry and schemes like this help to fill the gap as well as bringing employment to local people.

"It is particularly important to get young people interested as they are the future of the construction industry.

"Since starting this initiative, there have been plenty of positive outcomes.

"Many of the trainees who attended the course have obtained work within the industry and that has included apprenticeships with Dudley council in addition to entering education and gaining qualifications."