13/11/2013 Midlands Today


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That's all from the BBC News at Six so it's goodbye


Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: Unemployment


down in our region for a second quarter in a row, but there's still


work to be done to plug the skills gap.


We are building skills and wider experience and ways of working which


will be valued by employers. We visit a Warwickshire college


which is trying to tackle persistently high youth


unemployment. Also tonight: Struggling to pay the


bills ` how the West Midlands has one of the highest levels of fuel


poverty in the country. For the first time we are actually


facing the reality of thinking about the bills.


Making their home debut ` Birmingham City Ladies play at St Andrew's for


the first time, for a place in the Champions League quarterfinals.


Why would anyone want to swim 900 miles and spend 135 days in the


water? We'll ask the first man to swim the length of Britain.


After the chill of last night, things staying a little milder


tonight, but don't get used to it ` the cold's back tomorrow. Your full


forecast later. Good evening. The number of people


out of work here in the West Midlands has fallen for a second


quarter in a row. Between July and September, unemployment fell by


15,000 to 257,000. But at 9.5%, the region's unemployment rate is still


higher than the national average. Today, the Deputy Prime Minister,


Nick Clegg, said that tackling youth unemployment is a Government


priority. We've been to a Warwickshire college which is


developing entrepreneurial skills among its students to help them find


work. Liz Copper reports. Andy Plester and Graham Bird started


their tree`felling business while they were still studying. They


combined their college course with commercial experience. Eight months


on and they're starting to see the skills they learned turn into


profits. We have worries but we thought we would take them in our


stride and see how things turned adult. So far, things have gone


well. We decided it is the best way to set your business up by far.


Personally, I think it is better than working for somebody, being


able to work for yourself. Building a business though is tough,


especially for students fresh out of college. Starting a business


requires skills. But can enter a new real spirit be taught? ``


entrepreneurial spirit. When students are following the


curriculum, we are building in the skills and experiences and ways of


working which will be valued by employers and valuable to them when


they leave college and take the next step. These students are preparing


for an exhibition next week. Their work will be on show, but also for


sale. It's one of the projects designed to help them build


entrepreneurial skills. There is a standard and brief we have to meet


and it is training as up to be ready for the kind of demands we will get


from our clients if we were to work in that role. Trying to look for


work experience to get more skills so I know what I need to do when I'm


out there. It is very hard as well. You have to have an eye out for


customers and consumers and what they are buying and that will


escalate you up to think what you can sell and do.


Cutting youth unemployment is a continuing challenge. Building


businesses which flourish even in economically difficult conditions


will help bring unemployment down. Our business correspondent Peter


Plisner is at the Skills Show at the NEC tonight. It's good news that


unemployment has fallen again in our region but, as Liz's report showed,


getting the right skills is key to bringing down youth unemployment.


What else is being done to tackle that? I think that is exactly where


the the Skills Show comes in. It is on at the NEC for the next few days.


Unemployment is down but still work to do. How does the Skills Show


help? Unemployment is the reason the Skills Show exists. That is together


the UK people and youngsters and ability to learn skills. Not just


normal education but skills they were able to turn their hands to for


the rest of their lives. Is getting skills or academic education more


important? Some employers seem to prefer vocational skills. Most of


the time people go to university and get a degree and then find they want


to do something different. The wonderful thing about the Skills


Show is that you can try different things. You could join and


apprenticeship or do further education and get the right


qualification to allow you to do that skill. When you look for staff,


what do you look for? I don't put as much emphasis on university degrees


as many people. I am looking for passion, desire and the ability to


make it happen. There are so many young people who join us. The Skills


Show is on for the next few days. Saturday is family day.


Coming up later in the programme: Learning to trust again ` the


project in Walsall helping the young victims of sexual predators to


rebuild their lives. Utility bills are set to increase


above inflation for the next 17 years. That's the stark warning


today from the National Audit Office. Many are already struggling


to pay their energy bills. New figures show a third of


constituencies in the West Midlands are among the worst for fuel


poverty. Here's our political reporter Susana Mendonca.


John is a teacher. He is out of work at the moment so for the first time


in his life he has to choose a dream paying heating or eating. I have


decided to cut everything done. It is cold in here. Not as cold as my


room but, yes. You are not going to put any seating on. Now. He is one


of Birmingham's fuel poor. It is one of `` around one third of the worst


places in the UK for fuel poverty are in the West Midlands with seven


in Birmingham. My own feeling is we are scratching the surface of the


problem and more needs to be done. From our experience, we see a lot


more people falling into fuel poverty. Labour says the region has


particular problems which makes them back of higher fuel prices worse.


There are more disabled people in the West Midlands. There are


thousands of homes in fuel poverty. They are afraid of being able to


keep to their homes in the winter. `` heat. The government says it is


doing what it can to help vulnerable people. It says the idea of freezing


fuel prices wouldn't solve things. It is not a freeze, it is a , con.


Those struggling to top up the meter are hoping for a mild winter.


The BBC has learnt that the direct rail link between Shrewsbury to


London is due to restart in May next year. The service was lost in 2011


when the Wrexham and Shropshire link was ended. But the Office of Rail


Regulation has now accepted a joint proposal from Virgin Trains and


Network Rail for a weekday and Sunday service. Initially, trains


will only run at off`peak times. Andrea Waldeck from Cheltenham today


admitted to smuggling 1.5kg of illegal drugs into Indonesia. But


the former police community support officer said she'd been forced to


carry the crystal meth because of threats to herself, friends and


family. She's on trial in Surabaya after being arrested earlier this


year. If she's found guilty of the charges against her she faces the


death penalty. The chief executive of New Cross


Hospital in Wolverhampton has welcomed a new report outlining how


accident and emergency services should be changed. David Loughton


has already warned that his hospital's A department will


struggle to cope with demand this winter and it's already taking 40%


more patients than it was designed for.


We have 30 more A nurses than last winter, six more A consultants and


two more physicians. We are doing the best he can but the department


is not big enough to deal with it at the moment. For patients coming year


under their own steam, there are lots of alternatives which could be


found. There are calls tonight for improved


safety measures at a pool in the Malvern Hills where two young men


drowned. A coroner recorded verdicts of accidental death on 17`year`old


Russell O'Neill and Justas Juzenas, 22. They died within a week of each


other while swimming in hot weather over the summer. Our reporter Giles


Latcham was at the hearing in Hereford. What was said about


safety? The inquest heard evidence about the


signs that were in place warning about the dangers of swimming at


Gullet Quarry at the time of these separate tragedies in July. The men


who died were a Lithuanian national, Justas Juzenas, and Russell O'Neill,


a promising young footballer. His family said they believed the signs


weren't as prominent and clear as they should have been. They claimed


some of them were obscured by vegetation. They were too upset to


appear on camera but I spoke to Justas' sister and a representative


of the Lithuanian government. Nothing can change this situation.


There could be a lot of signs that no one will bring my brother back. I


will always love him and this place just will remind me about that.


Signs should be put up immediately on the edge of the quarry or


anywhere where people go straight from there into the water, saying


there is clearly no swimming, dangerous water.


So who's responsible for the quarry pool?


The area comes under the responsibility of the Conservators,


the custodians of the Malvern Hills. Their director attended the inquest


and gave evidence. Our thoughts are with the family and


friends. This is a difficult time for them. We have commissioned the


Royal Society for the prevention of accidents to report on the quarry.


The coroner said that cold water contributed to both deaths and was


conceivable that more deaths could coroner. `` car there.


Thousands of children every year are falling prey to sexual predators,


either through social media sites or even introductions from friends.


Projects such as street teams in Walsall help youngsters rebuild


their lives after they've been targeted. Joan Cummins has been


speaking to two young people who, through funding from Children In


Need, are learning to trust again. He pretended to be my friend by


talking to me in a genuine way that made me feel comfortable. If you


hear in the news that a girl is getting groomed by an older man,


it's news but you don't hear about a young lad being groomed by an older


woman. Many children at risk of sexual exploitation. In Walsall, one


charity is trying to help. He tried kissing me and I backed off. It


happened when I was 15. She was friendly at the start and then she


beat me up every single time without fail. She broke my nose, it


disinfected into my eyes, slashed me with a knife. She went, I hate you,


I love you. She was promised she wouldn't do it again and it was a


mistake. Sexual predators groom boys and girls, pretending to be their


friends are for luring them into a cycle of abuse. I felt I couldn't


talk to any of my family or anybody. No one really listens to


me. I never believe in violence towards a female so I would just


take it. Young victims often blame you can donate to children in need


by calling the summer. Our top story tonight: Unemployment


down in our region for a second quarter in a row, but it's still


above the national average. Your detailed weather forecast to


come shortly from Rebecca. Also in tonight's programme: The


seasickness sufferer who decided to swim the length of Britain. We ask


him why. And how Scott's work with Mencap has


earned him a nomination for a Midlands Sports award.


It's a big night of European football at St Andrew's with


Birmingham City Ladies in action. They're aiming for a place in the


quarterfinals of the Champions League, taking on the Russian side


Zorkiy Krasnogorsk. Our sports editor Nick Clitheroe is there now.


Nick, it seems incredible they're playing on their home turf for the


first time? Incredible. They were formed in 1969


but it is the first time they will play here. Tonight they are hoping


for double the usual crowd of four or 5000. It's been a great couple of


seasons for the club. They were FA Cup winners in 2012 and have twice


been runners`up in the Super League but this is their chance to make a


mark in European football. Training night for the Blues Ladies.


There's an extra spring in their step and a smile on their faces.


Because this evening, they get the opportunity to play at St Andrew's


for the first time. For England international Karen Carney, who


joined the club at 11, it's the fulfilment of a lifetime ambition.


The last time I was here I was a mascot and I was only allowed on


certain parts of the pitch. To have this and all my family they are


watching, it would be a dream come true for them and me.


But that's not the only incentive tonight. Birmingham are on the


threshold of a place in the quarterfinals of the Champions


League. Their Russian opponents Zorkiy Krasnogorsk imported players


from America to try and boost their hopes but it was Blues who won


Saturday's first leg 2`0. If you can't win the first ball...


They're not taking any chances. Coach Marcus Bignot was taking the


players through the good and bad from the first leg before training


on Monday. No`one wants to let slip this golden opportunity. We are


punching above our weight. We are competing against millions of pounds


worth of investment across the continent. To get where we have is a


minor miracle in itself. It would be monumental to get to the


quarterfinal. I remember when we were playing in a park using cars


for lights and now we are playing at St Andrew's, it is a massive


achievement to how far the women's game has come.


With fans able to pay on the gate at St Andrew's tonight, the club are


hoping to set a new record crowd as well.


And there's full match commentary on BBC WM this evening, from 7pm.


Joining me is the Chief Executive of Birmingham ladies. We need to keep


them focused on the game but this is another and has to accept. We need


to finish the job after winning 2`0. Last season you threw away a 2`goal


lead. We need to get over that tonight and get that extra goal.


Plenty of players have family and friends tonight. It's nice to see


and it's a good family atmosphere here. It is great to be here. You


have to wait until March for the next round if you go through. 22nd


and 29th of March for the next round. There is a lot of organising


to stage a quarterfinal so we will need that time to do it. We finished


our season and this is tagged on the end so we need a bit of a break, to


be honest. A big night for Birmingham City Ladies.


You may have heard about our next guest ` it's a memorable story. Sean


Conway from Cheltenham became the first person to swim the length of


the UK when he finally made land in John O'Groats on Monday. It took him


135 days to swim around 900 miles with an estimated three million


strokes. He's here with me now. Congratulations. Why would you put


yourself through this challenge? I don't know. One reason was that I


was told it couldn't be done. I'm a bit storm so I wanted to prove them


wrong. To be fair, there wasn't many an occasion where are those people


were almost right but I managed to push through and although I was two


and a half month 's law, IFN shall got there. `` I eventually got


there. My crew stayed for a lot longer than I'd hoped. Thanks to


them. It is a magnificent beard you have. It had a practical use, didn't


it? There are loads of jellyfish in the Irish Sea and I realised I


wasn't getting stung where the beard was so it helped to protect from


jellyfish. What was the worst thing? I suffer from seasickness quite


badly so myself and most of the crew weren't very well on the second day.


I got over it in the middle and I got seasick at the end again because


it was quite rough in Scotland. We might spare people the details if


they are eating their tea. So you did this for charity and it isn't


the first time you have done something like this. What is next? I


would like to run the length of Africa. I think it would take the


final box of something. I have done a long cycle and a long swim. I


would like to run the length of the UK and I might do that next summer.


And taking a few months of two recover.


Sport can be a great way of meeting new people and improving confidence.


Tonight's nominee for the Newcomer Of The Year at the West Midlands


Community Sports Awards is doing just that at Midland Mencap. Kevin


Reide joined them for football training.


37`year`old Scot from Birmingham has a learning difficulty but it hasn't


stopped him from getting into sport. He is a relative newcomer but has


become captain of Midland Mencap. They listen to me. We get better


every time we play. Taking part in things and being part of a team


means an awful lot to him. Regardless of the sport or their


setting, he enjoys people's company and sport is a brilliant outlet for


that to happen. Tuesday is training and Scott helps runs the sessions.


He is really friendly. He is a good captain. He is really good and we


have a laugh. People who know him say that football has boosted his


confidence and help to bring him out of his shell. He also plays netball,


tennis and cricket. I enjoy being with all my friends and doing the


exercises and being involved and playing football. Having good fun.


It might just be a `` it is not just a football session. It has a very


positive influence. Mencap say he is simply a great role model to many


others with learning disabilities. Rebecca warned us yesterday we'd be


in for a frosty start today. Same again on Thursday?


Not quite. Don't put your warm clothes away yet. It will be milder


tonight but just for a short period. It was a beautiful day today. This


was the scene this morning. Thank you for your pictures. It won't look


quite as beautiful tomorrow because it will be a little overcast. Cloud


is moving into night and that will help temperatures stay higher. But


winds are picking up and changing direction so it will feel colder


tomorrow. There is a band of cloud approaching us too much of the


afternoon. We may see some rain and the blanket of cloud isn't really


going anywhere tonight. Some rain across northern and western parts of


the region but most places will stay dry overnight. We have got a wind


direction change so it is going to be picking up as we move through


tonight into tomorrow morning. We start off with a rain in some places


but it will eventually dry out. It is going to feel cold, though. The


winds will take the edge off the temperatures. Through tomorrow


afternoon the showers will eventually die out and it will be


another cool night. The possibility of a touch of ground frost on


Friday. It will stay settled for the weekend. On Friday we will see the


sun at times but cloud will start to fill in. Saturday is looking


cloudier and more rain on Sunday. Tonight's headlines: Unemployment


down in our region for a second quarter in a row, but it's still


above the national average. That was Midlands Today. I'll be


back at 10pm, including the result from St Andrew's. Have a great


evening. Goodbye.


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