“Jeans. No Pinstripes” – A blog from Millennium Point’s Philip Singleton

Between the 6th and 9th of May, Millennium Point will see a healthy influx of the city’s youngest, brightest talents into the Birmingham Made Me Job Fair. This will be an opportunity for some of the finest businesses in the region to find themselves the gifted employees of the future.

It marks a vital link between Midlands industry and its oft-overlooked youth.

However, to those businesses and individuals not in the know, the question might be ‘why, as an employer, does it make sense to engage with young people away from the traditional city centre, or away from the ICC, or the NEC’?

Well, let’s take a tour and find out.

Here are two new Academies with students working their way from 14 to 18: one school specialises in engineering, brimming with great educators and machines in bits and being built; the other is a box of noisy, boisterous delights being trained to be the media and performing stars of the future, celebrating just taking over a Birmingham theatre.

Walk over the road into the doors of a 3,000 strong university which again features in the top 10 most employable graduate league and highly regarded for business training. It also boasts a huge programme of redevelopment which is creating a new green heart.

A 3 minute stroll from there takes you into the brand new portals of another university; here, a big proportion of its 22,000 students are making the most of the brand new, award winning atrium space and being trained as the designers and engineers of the future, steeped in kit which is as good as it gets and awash with ambition.

Teachers bring classes of eager children from 50 miles away to explore Birmingham’s Science Museum, absorbing why the city is here, seeing one of the oldest steam engines, a tram and the fastest car in the world in the middle of the twentieth century.  I think the original Lunar Society would have been proud to see all these children thinking about their future by referencing the past.  They all delight in playing in the science garden which makes you think about water, light, wind and energy and at times of the day, it’s free to try.

Those children then walk over to one of the UK’s biggest independent cinemas to see, in 3D, a digital film on space or the ocean depths.  Out in the atrium hydrogen fuel cell cars and electric powered cars are on show – the future of travel maybe, they think?  Better for the planet.  From here they peer into the showcase spaces by an ambitious college with graphic design and fashion students beavering away.

Then there are highly supportive incubation spaces for new technology businesses which are so very often being created by Birmingham’s young people.  Some of the disenfranchised young are being encouraged to beat a door to new, funded space to create new models of social innovation.

An amazing new place to teach hundreds of music students to engage and entertain us will be here soon, as will new expo space to celebrate and lead design and innovation.  In June, music created in New York will be heard here for the first time anywhere in the world.

Where can you then see all these young people playing, eating, skateboarding, talking and soaking up the sun?  In the best new city centre park.

That will be Eastside then.  The youngest and most progressive Quarter.

Philip Singleton is the Chief Executive of Millennium Point