13/07/2011 Midlands Today


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Welcome to Midlands Today. They headlines tonight: unemployment


figures for the region are down, but it is tougher than ever for


women to get jobs. I am used to going to work, talking to friends.


Joy for some, despair for others as county schools find out which will


close and which had been spared. The pain and human cost of life on


the front line in Afghanistan. will not get a chance to go back to


the UK for the funeral, so saying goodbye at the service was


important. And tribute to a living legend - the finishing touches to a


statue of the man who transformed the fortunes of Coventry City


Football Club. Good evening and welcome to


Wednesday's Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight, good and bad news on


the jobs front. Unemployment has fallen faster here than anywhere


else in the country. The number of people out of work between March


and May stood at 226,000 - a drop of 32,000. But the figures also


show that men are finding it easier to get new jobs, with 94,000 women


still unemployed. In Coventry that's an increasing problem, with


women making up 78% of public sector workers. So what is being


done to help women who are out of work?


There are around 35,000 people in Coventry claiming unemployment


benefits and a growing number of them are women. This woman, a human


rights lawyer was made redundant last year after funding was cut for


a project that aims, ironically, to get women back into work. The it


has been nine months. I have been applying for jobs every day. I get


no response, up or do to a high number of applications -- or due to


a high number of applications, I am just not considered. This charity


has seen an increasing number of women coming to them. I knew the


recession was going to make things difficult, but I did not realise


almost a year on I would still be looking for work. It is quite bad


out there. Jane Niven work for years and the banking industry and


sees this as an opportunity to leave the restrictive corporate


world. Every day, answering to somebody else, being kicked when


you do not do something right. I want something different. Sandra


Garlick, an employment lawyer, has urged the Chamber of Commerce to


set up a forum aimed at women. She believes there are distinct


differences between the genders when it comes to unemployment.


Women treat losing their jobs different leaf. They are more


adaptable to change, probably because they have had to juggle


careers with a work-life balance. They tend to look at the fact that


they are losing their job as an opportunity to do something


different. Coventry has a reputation for literally and


metaphorically we building itself over the decades. All the women I


have spoken to today said if someone cannot help them, they are


more than prepared to help themselves and get them out of this


employment crisis. En Westminster Coventry North West


MP Geoffrey Robinson secured a special debate on the issues facing


women in the City, focusing on pay and jobs. Coventry is a suitable


place to use as a further test case for the examination of the impact


of unemployment on women. In Coventry, the pay gap between men


and women is 10 points higher than the national average. Later in the


programme we will be switching from the female workers of today to the


female workers of tomorrow at the Academy desperately seeking female


engineers for the future. False calls in Shropshire had been


recommended for closure as part of a plan to reorganise education in


the county. But three other schools under threat had been reprieved.


Shropshire has nearly 3,000 fewer pupils than went to school in the


county six years ago and that means �10 million less in government


funding. Ben Godfrey is at one of the schools set to close. What has


been the reaction? At this call, along with eight


others, children and staff had been waiting to find out when they will


close. Head teachers have told me the uncertainty has led some


parents to pour their children out, just in case. Today, some clarity


from the council. This school has been at the heart


of the community for 80 years. There are only 41 children, but


they all love it. A everyone knows each other and it is like a family.


I like coming here and meeting my friends. If I went to a different


school I would not be able to see them. This school will close in


20th September 12, along with three others. No-one has been able to


show us how children will gain. A lot of the money will go in


transporting them to this course. Shropshire council say it falling


LINK People numbers and a cut in funding has left it with no


alternative. But a day three is the magic number. Three primaries found


that they are not going to close. They have a future as a federation.


What it does is allow possibilities between the schools. So if you have


a couple of small schools, it could be on one day one of the schools


literally transport some of their classes of children to another


venue and they are taught jointly. Then maybe people watching this,


screaming at the television and saying, closing at a local school


rips the heart out of the community. How do you respond to that? There


is no alternative. We are having to close schools and we will work hard


with them and parents to ensure children get the best deal.


picking up their children, parents at this school were disappointed.


It will be of huge detriment to the village. My son has come on leaps


and bounds since he has been here. But all is not last. There is one


other option - academy status. application has gone in for academy


status. That has gone to one committee and it is now with


ministers, who will make the decision. By the end of turned the


school is hopeful it will know for sure whether this Bell will keep on


bringing. So academy status is a possibility here. Other local


schools are considering free school status to cut ties with local


authorities. They have to take action soon because come 2012, all


these buildings behind the could be vacant.


British forces have been fighting in Afghanistan for almost a decade


with 300 serviceman and women paying the ultimate sacrifice. At


the moment there are 9,500 service men and women fighting the Taliban,


including many from other region. Louise Brierley is at Camp Bastion


with the Mercian Regiment. This is Camp Bastion, the main


place for troops. 20,000 people live here. It is here that I met


soldiers from the Mercian Regiment just before they were about to


board a plane to go home for three weeks. Tragically, one of them


would not be joining them. Private Gareth Bellingham was shot dead by


the Taliban was on patrol. I am gentamicin a lot. He was a good


friend to me. We used to love to have a drink together. He used to


come round to my house when we were on leave. I am going to miss him.


For these men, they know the risks only too well, but after losing a


friend, suddenly the reality of war comes crashing home. We were just


gobsmacked. The regiment padre is the Christian minister of the


Mercians. He led a service for Private Gareth Bellingham. In helps


the grieving process, which is important for everyone out here.


They will not get a chance to go to the funeral, so it is important to


say goodbye at the service. British personnel have died since


the war started in Afghanistan. 32 from out of region. This is where


serviceman and women from Afghanistan pay their respects. It


is the ultimate tribute for those who have sacrificed their lives for


their country. But for now, these men and women have to put death


behind them and get on with the job. And there will be more from Louise


tomorrow on the BBC WM Breakfast Show, and she will be reporting


from the frontline again on Midlands Today tomorrow night.


Brockhill Prison in Redditch is to close. The government's announced


it will shut in September as part of plans to save money. It's one of


three sites that make up Hewell Prison and holds 170 inmates, who


will be sent to other jails. Now, meet the little boy who was


born the wrong way round, quite literally. Kian Hill had all his


major organs on the opposite side and was missing a lung, his spleen


and an appendix. He's spent almost his entire life on wards at


Birmingham's Childrens' Hospital, but he's now made such a recovery,


he's being allowed home tonight for the first time. He has endured


operations and medical procedures on almost a daily basis. To date


there there is cause for celebration. It is a big day for


charred macro and his mum because having spent his entire life in a


hospital bed like this one, tonight he would get to sleep in his own


bed. It will be emotional. I am happy for him. At last, home to


Sheldon. It is amazing to think we can have him here and start to live


a normal family life. It has been a long journey. Last year doctors


gave charred macro a 50 % chance of survival. He suffered two cardiac


arrests and was clinically dead for 30 minutes. They said it bit happy


-- they said if it happened again, there was a slim chance of him


pulling through again. Lunch is and will be for some time in liquid


form and given through a tube, and there is a cocktail of drugs to be


administered. Hopefully he will grow up to be a normal toddler, a


teenager, but no-one knows how that will pan out. They don't know


whether he will always be Osidge in dependent on his ventilator in the


evening. Next week, charred macro should be able to come home for


good. Just in time for his birthday. Welcome home to Kian. Still to come


- a legend cast in bronze. A fitting tribute to Coventry's Jimmy


Hill. And we get a taste of summer tomorrow, but could it turned sour


by the weekend. -- weekend? Find out later.


Earlier, we reported on the lack of jobs for women. Well for some time


now manufacturers have complained about a skills shortage and lack of


engineers. And the problem's especially acute when it comes to


encouraging girls to choose a career in engineering. As the JCB


Academy nears the end of its first year, our Staffordshire reporter


Liz Copper has been to see how a new programme could unearth the


great female engineers of tomorrow. We need to make it as early as


possible. Refusing to conform to expectations, the challenge of


these 11 year olds is to build a crane. They have come to the JCB


academy to get a taste of what engineering is about. Why did they


think that girls are put off? in it is a boy's's job because you


get dirty and it is mechanical. Boys's. This is the end of the


Academy's first year and boys outnumber girls 9-1. Girls have got


great skills and they need to be utilised. Laura Atkins's


aspirations have taken her into leadership. Engineering and


struggles with a skills gap. We do not have enough engineers in this


country, but we have a lot of women who are good at maths at school.


Back at the Crane making, have any of the girls been persuaded that a


career in engineering could be for them? Yes, I would like to be an


engineer. A I might. Now that we have experienced it, it seems like


fun. Yes, I'd definitely be an engineer. As they test their


creations the hope is these girls will not be held down by the burden


of stereotypes and will consider a career in science.


Most of them looked enthusiastic. Results from one of the UK's


biggest trials of electric cars have been announced. It took place


here and involved 50 cars. Although there was much scepticism over


whether they could replace conventional vehicles, results


appear to show that for the majority of journeys they can. Our


Transport Correspondent Peter Plisner joins us now. I am a bit


sceptical myself, Peter. Are we all going to go electric?


These cars will not be ideal for everyone, especially if you are


making a long journey. But a lot of people make short ones and this


trial was designed to see how easy it would be to go electric. They


are small and are becoming a regular sight. A small number of


people were asked to give up their petrol fuelled cars and go electric.


The trial also saw the installation of more charging points. Birmingham


and Coventry now has a network of more than 30 of them. The Midlands


is becoming a centre of excellence for electric cars. The Indian


company Tata has recently set up a new company -- new factory to


produce their car Tata EV. We are told that 77 % of journeys were


less than 20 minutes in duration, which is perfect length for


electric cars. In the survey most of the cars were parked four Oct 23


hours a day and the cost was under �1. I have someone with me he took


part in the trial. It was great. You need to plan your journey


carefully so you do not run out of electricity. With me also it is


Neil Bodger from the CABLED project. These cars can do 70 miles per hour.


They go 100 miles between charges. Well electric cars catch on? They


are more expensive to buy, but they are cheap to run. Vehicle Leasing


will come into play in the future, so they can balance of the purchase


price with the running costs. you want more information about the


results of this trial, there is more information on a website. --


on our website. A small Midlands charity is selling


or water back to us to help the situation in Ethiopia.


This 25-year-old finance train they get stuck into his latest project -


Walter -- bottled water it. -- aid. A percentage of the profits will go


to funding water suppliers in Ethiopia. You can also find out


exactly who you helped. In this case, a farmer who has to travel


for an away up to get clean water. By personalising the bottled water,


we hope people will feel more attached to the people they are


helping. Each bottle sold provides one Ethiopian with clean water for


a year. And the return to his old school to make a pitch to their


fund-raising committee. -- Andy. think it is a great idea. You can


find out exactly who you helped. People can help others instead of


buying the water at they normally buy. It is a hit here and as for


the reception in Ethiopia, they are grateful.


In football, delight for Wolves, but disappointment for Birmingham


City. Central defender Roger Johnson says he has moved to


Molineux from St Andrew's to keep alive his Premier League career. He


has signed a four-year contract after completing the �6 million


deal this morning. Wolves boss Mick McCarthy says he has been waiting


two years to get his man. For me it was all about getting back to the


Premier League. Relegation was heartbreaking, but I had to do what


I needed to do. He plays in the same position that manager Mike


McCarthy played. -- Mick McCarthy. He is terrific, a good defender. He


is vocal on the pitch as a leader. That is what I wanted and that is


what I have got. Before interviews with Roger Johnson and Mick


McCarthy up on Our Facebook page. Stoke City have Sir Stanley


Matthews, Wolves have Stan Cullis and Billy Wright and very soon


Coventry City will have Jimmy Hill. We're talking about statues. In a


couple of weeks time the former Sky Blues manager will officially


unveil his own bronze outside the Ricoh Arena, and Ian Winter has had


exclusive access to Jimmy's statue. Fire up the furnace, turn up the


heat and prepared to pour the molten metal. Deep inside the


Bronze Foundry in London, her Majesty keeps an eye on it football


legend. But before Jimmy Hill was transferred to bronze, he was


enshrined in a clay. Nicholas Dimbleby talks with his hands and


because Jimmy is an old friend of the family, this commission has


been a labour of love. On the stone plinth his name will be carved and


at the base there will be a seat said that the statute he's a


meeting place as well as a tribute -- said that the statue is a


tribute as well as a meeting-place. Under Jimmy Hill of the Sky Blues


was transformed. He got the fans singing and smiling and that is why


so many chipped in to pay for the statue. Joe Elliott ran the


campaign to raise �100,000 of the statue. We talking to see how it


was taking shape. What will Jimmy make of it? He will be delighted.


I've been there will be at Tear in his eye. He loves Coventry. --


Bates here in his eye. I am sure he will be over the moon.


challenge was to make an iconic image and to make it personal to me.


What about Jimmy's Ching? It is not as big as you might think. --


Jimmy's chin. I am not a great football fan. I will leave that to


the critics. Jimmy Hill will be 82 next week, so don't expect him to


be sprinting across the pitch. He will be content to unveil his


statue, welcoming the next generation of Sky Blues fans to his


beloved football club. -- sky-blue. A remarkable man. And now for the


weather. We are going through this transitory phase will we get a


slice up summer and then it is displaced by eight what you would


not want. At least is the - that Tonight, a good deal of cloud. It


will be fairly warm. Temperatures down to 9-12 Celsius. Tomorrow,


fairly dry, apart from the odd fleeting shower were. On balance it


will be quite sunny. -- fleeting showers. We have a light north-


westerly breeze. Friday, things start to turn. It will be cloudier


and rain will arrive from the mid- afternoon onwards. It will be light,


but over the weekend we will have prolonged periods of rain. The


winds will increase. Temperatures will take and knock back by a


couple of degrees. Before we leave, a look at the main


headlines: Rupert Murdoch has withdrawn the News Corporation


bitter takeover BSkyB. And in the Midlands unemployment is down and


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