NEWS: Local community join city leaders at candlelit vigil for killed schoolboy Dea-John Reid

Words by Erdington Local editorial team / Pics by Joe Marchant

On Friday 31 May, the Kingstanding and local community stood in silence at the exact spot where 14-year-old Dea-John Reid was stabbed to death in 2021 – at a special memorial event held three years ago to the day the schoolboy was killed in broad daylight on College Road.

Those attending the candlelit vigil include Dea-John’s friends and family, alongside local community leaders, Erdington MP Paulette Hamilton, Edgbaston MP Preet Gill, Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, and Birmingham City Council Leader John Cotton.

The mood was mournful but defiant, unlike the vigil a week after Dea-John’s death in 2021 which pulsated with anger after hundreds of protestors descended on the area from across the country.

The racial tinderbox which could have exploded in the aftermath of the schoolboy’s killing never did, due to the hard work of local community members who worked to untie and not divide the Kingstanding or North Birmingham community.

However, the subsequent not guilty verdicts from the highly publicised murder trail sadly did little to quell the growing frustration and anger.

But that anger turned to action, and the ‘Justice 4 Dea-John’ campaign has been working to make changes to the judicial process that they feel let them down in 2021.

Addressing the crowd at the 31 May vigil on College Road, the ‘Justice 4 Dea-John’ campaign informed how they want to create ‘Dea-John’s Law’ – which would see jury members reflect the racial make up of an area.

In the 2021 murder trial, 11 jurors in Dea-John’s case were white in a city of 52% ethnic minority residents.

Bishop Desmond Jadoo and Dea-John’s mother, Joan Morris, led prayers at the spot where the teenager died.

Bishop Jadoo told Erdington Local: “This evening has been a success. I was pleased to see the Leader of Birmingham Council and the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner here today, as well as MPs.

“What happened here three years ago, if filmed it would have been something like Mississippi Burning, and though it is important to remember Dea-John’s name and honour his memory we have to try and change the system which let him down.”

He added: “To have the backing and help of the University of Birmingham is also really important to our campaign. We have got support from young people who want to get involved, they want to see the

“We are campaigning for a civil rights law too. We cannot forget the horrific injustice which Dea-John suffered on the last day of his life and when the verdict was passed by 11 white jurors.”

At 7.34pm, a minute’s silence was held for Dea-John and then balloons were let off into the sky followed by chants declaring: “Say his name, Dea-John Reid”.

Birmingham City Council Leader Councillor John Cotton told Erdington Local: “I came to show solidarity with Dea-John’s family and stand with the community today. What happened here three years was a terrible racist murder.

“We are a majority minority city and I think the campaign is important because I believe public institutions need to reflect the communities they make decisions about.”

He added: “I think juries should reflect their communities.”

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster also told: “I think it was necessary to pay our respects to Dea-John and give our condolences to Dea-John’s family.

“Any change to the criminal justice system should be done after evidence led academic study. I think Birmingham University coming on board with the campaign which will give it an academic rigor which is needed.”

PICTURE GALLERY: Candlelit vigil for Dea-John Reid on third anniversary of schoolboy’s death

For more on the ‘Justice 4 Dea-John Reid’ campaign visit www.facebook.com/Justice4DeaJohnReid

NEWS: Local residents invited to ‘Spring into Summer’ as Perry Common Festival returns on 15 June

Words and pics by Ed King / Promotional artwork supplied by WLCA

Local residents across Perry Common are invited to ‘Spring into Summer’ as the Perry Common Festival is set to return on Saturday 15 June, running from 12noon to 3pm.

Held on The Ring in the centre of Witton Lodge Road, the communal grass area by Storywood School and St Martin’s Church, the family friendly event is free to attend – with some activities costing only £1.

Event organisers are promoting a variety of events and entertainment for adults and children of all ages – including a super slide, bouncy castle, donkey rides, and a football cage.

The festival will also offer a chance to meet some of the emergency services that look after Perry Common residents, with a public engagement presence from both the local Fire Service and police.

Organised by Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA) and The Active Wellbeing Society – with support from Urban Devotion Birmingham, St Matin’s Church, and The Friends of Witton Lakes – the annual event was first held in 2010.

But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the community summer festival was put on hiatus for four years – eventually returning to Perry Common in 2023.

A recognised “highlight for our community”, a spokesperson from WLCA further told how they are “are excited to continue this tradition in 2024” following the successful return of the festival last year.

The event takes on an extra special meaning in 2024 as it will also mark the 30th anniversary of Witton Lodge Community Association, the resident founded organisation established in 1994 after Birmingham City Council announced plans to demolish the estate.

Taking inspiration from the Stockfield Community Association in Acock’s Green, WLCA now manages over 200 homes in Perry Common and has spearheaded successful community developments – including the renovation of Perry Common Hall and transforming the old gatekeeper’s cottage and grounds at Witton Lakes into a thriving community garden and innovative Eco Hub.

WLCA have also used The Ring on Witton Lodge Road for a world record breaking community challenge, where they built the world’s largest holly wreath around the railings – with help from the local residents and children the at neighbouring Storywood School

Measuring a staggering 358.3m in circumference and 136.1m in diameter, the giant wreath was made of holly branches from Sutton Park and Christmas decorations donated Birmingham City Council.

Paul Tse, Flourishing Community Development Officer at Witton Lodge Community Association, added: “We are so excited to host the 2024 Spring into Summer Festival in the heart of Perry Common.

“2024 marks thirty years of Witton Lodge Community Association and we are delighted to host this event as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations!

“This event really captures and celebrates the vibrant community spirit that exists in our community, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone on the day!”

The Perry Common ‘Spring into Summer’ Festival will be held on Saturday 15 June at The Ring, Witton Lodge Road, Perry Common, B23 5JD. The event will run from 12noon to 3pm – admission is free with some activities costing £1.

For more information on Perry Common Festival and the other projects from Witton Lodge Community Association visit www.wittonlodge.org.uk or phone (0121) 382 1930

NEWS: Erdington’s Mo ‘Terminator’ Zubair looks to climb the professional MMA ranks with second fight on 1 June

Pics supplied by Mo Zubair

Erdington fighter Mo ‘Terminator’ Zubair is looking to climb the ranks of professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), accepting the high profile bout with eight only days notice.

Mo is taking on hometown favourite Liam Thomas in Darlington tomorrow night (Saturday, 1 June) in what will be a massive jump in class from his first fight – where he beat Spain’s Nestor Santana on 2 March this year.

(Click here to read more on Mo ‘Terminator’ Zubair’s first professional MMA fight.)

Mo is also jumping up a weight to share a ring with fancied feather weight Thomas.

However, a victory would accelerate Mo’s ascent to the top table of the sport – the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

To achieve his dream Mo will have to excel, excite, and impress in a succession of other MMA tournaments.

The 23-year-old told Erdington Local: “I am fighting in the Unity Fighting Championships against Liam Thomas.

“He is more experienced than me and had an impressive boxing career before switching to MMA.”

He added: “I took the fight with just eight days notice and I am going up a weight. But I am a full time professional fighter so I am fit enough to compete.”

Mo’s confidence stems from being a respected long-standing member of Team Renegade. The Northfield based MMA gym boasts a stable of fighters renowned across the world including UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards, a fellow Erdingtonian.

He said: “I train with the best in the world, every day I am learning from the best and competing with the best.

“The Team Renegade mindset is a winning one, so of course I would accept a fight which will be massive for my career if I win.”

He added: “I will have Team Renegade cornermen with me for the fight, they have seen it all.”

Mo hit the weight ahead of the bout, tipping the scales at 65.8 kg and believes his eight day preparation might even give him the edge. He is also hopeful of any hometown support whilst fighting up north.

Mo added: “If there are any Brummies or Erdington people in and around Darlington then come down and support me!”

The Unity Fighting Championship is at The Dolphin Centre, Darlington, on Saturday 1 June. Doors open at 6pm.

To follow Mo ‘Terminator’ Zubair on Instagram visit www.instagram.com/mozubairmma

For more on The Dolphin Centre visit www.facebook.com/HealthyDarlington

NEWS: Conservatives win Kingstanding by-election with 5.8 percent swing of votes

Words by Erdington Local election editorial team 

The Conservatives have won the Kingstanding by-election with a 5.8 percent swing of the votes, in a result which will take on national significance ahead of the General Election.

Under the party name Local Conservatives, Clifton Frederick Welch polled 829 votes – retaining the second councillor seat in the North Birmingham Ward for the Conservatives.

Mr Welch had previously stood for the Pype Hayes Ward in local council elections, losing out to Labour’s candidates by 92 votes in 2022 and only 16 votes in 2018.

Coming in second place in the Kingstanding by-election, Naz Rasheed won 680 votes for Labour – losing by 149 votes to the party’s main political rival.

In third place, and significantly behind the front two candidates, was Lucy Haywood for the Liberal Democrats who received 82 votes.

Christopher Lee was forth with 72 votes for the Green Party, Pete Higgins of George Galloway’s Workers Party of Great Britain came in fifth with 46 votes, whilst Kris O’Sullivan of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition took only 20 votes in sixth place. There were ten spoiled ballots counted.

Yesterday’s by-election in Kingstanding was sparked by the resignation of the Ward’s former Conservative Councillor Rick Payne’s – after a slew of his racist social media comments were made public following an investigation by national anti-racism charity HOPE Not Hate.

The by-election was the first Erdington constituency poll since Birmingham City Council was effectively publicly declared bankrupt, after a section 114 notice was issued by city officers in September 2023.

The nationally reported financial chaos brought in Government appointed commissioners, and saw Birmingham’s current Labour run Council increase Council Tax bills by 20 per cent over the next two years and pass a cost-cutting budget which axed lifeline services for the city most vulnerable adults and children.

The election is also the last meaningful vote before the General Election scheduled on 4 July. A Conservatives win in Kingstanding, with a 5.8 per cent swing, will send shockwaves throughout Westminster.

The result will be analysed by all the national parties and commentators looking for trends which can shed a light on voters intentions in the General Election.

The combined vote for the leftwing alternative to Labour, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and the Workers Party was 66 votes which even if had gone to Labour would have still seen the Tories win.

Even if the Green vote, which many tactically vote instead of Labour, were added to the Workers and Socialist Parties the Tories still would have come out on top.

Further possibly reflecting the national trend, less than 1,700 Kingstanding residents turned out to vote in the by-election, with the official figures yet to be released by Birmingham City Council.

Rishi Sunak’s election team will likely seize on the result of what in national terms is an obscure by-elections as a glimmer of hope they can still win the General Election.

Following the results of the KIngstanding by-election, the Birmingham Conservative Group tweeted: “Birmingham Local Conservatives have won the Kingstanding by-election – with a 5.8% swing. The people of Kingstanding have sent a clear message to bankrupt Birmingham Labour over their double whammy of higher taxes and fewer services!”

At the time of writing, no message had been posted by either Birmingham Labour or their candidate Naziah Rasheed.

Polling company Election Maps UK claimed the Tories vote went up 4.7%, clinching 47.9% of the vote, whilst Labour’s vote dropped by 6.1% since the the 2022 local elections.

Councillor Welch is a familiar face in Erdington, campaigning in Pype Hayes with Birmingham City Council Conservative Group leader and Erdington Councillor Bobby Alden.

Erdington Conservative candidate for the General Election Steve Knee was knocking doors with Councillor Welch over the last week.

He said: “It was great to be supporting Clifton Welch in Kingstanding! Two out of the three days of this Bank Holiday weekend were spent in support of Clifton Welch in Kingstanding.”

Erdington Local has approached all political parties for comment.

For more on both local and national elections held across the UK, alongside advice on how to register to vote, visit www.electoralcommission.org.uk

NEWS: ‘Justice 4 Dea-John’ campaign to hold candlelit vigil on anniversary of schoolboy’s broad daylight killing

Original pics by Ed King

A candlelit vigil is set to be held in honour of schoolboy Dea-John Reid, three years to the day after the teenager was killed in broad daylight on a busy Kingstanding road.

Weeks after the tragedy, on Sunday 6 June 2021, an immediate event was organised to bring the community together called ‘Shine-a-Light vigil for Dea-John Reid’.

To see the Erdington Local PICTURE GALLERY from the 2021 vigil for Dea-John Reid, click here.

Now on Friday 31 May, at 6:30pm, people are invited to gather once again at the very spot Dea-John died on College Road – just opposite the McDonald’s fast food outlet.

Organised by the ‘Justice 4 Dea-John’ campaign and led by Bishop Desmond Jaddoo MBE – a prominent Kingstanding resident and local spokesperson who supported the family of the killed youngster after his death and throughout the subsequent trail – the peaceful memorial will be attended by Dea John’s family and friends.

Also attending will be local politicians, religious leaders, police representatives, and campaigners demanding a change to the law after the Crown failed to secure a murder verdict back in 2021.

After being arrested and charged with murder of schoolboy Dea-John Reid, the three juveniles and two adult men accused were eventually cleared – following days of CCTV footage being shown to the jury, including the moment the stabbing took place.

The teenager who delivered the fatal blow, a single stab wound with a large kitchen knife to the chest, was eventually found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to six year and a half years in custody – with an order to serve half of it in a juvenile detention centre.

The three youngsters accused of murder were brought to trial under joint enterprise, a heavily contested legal doctrine which the House of Commons Justice Committee describes as “a form of secondary liability” where co-defendants can be “liable for all criminal acts committed” by the “principal defendant… in the course of their joint criminal venture.”

The Birmingham Crown Court jury consisted of 11 white members, which Dea-John’s family and advisor Bishop Desmond Jaddoo believes affected the verdict.

Since the trial, a campaign titled ‘Justice 4 Dea-John Reid’ has been fighting to change the legal system under a newly proposed ‘Dea-John’s Law’ – which would allow legal representation to challenge the makeup of a jury, currently selected at random from the electoral register, so they can better represent aspects of the crime.

The campaign has even attracted the attention of academics at Birmingham University, with Associate Professor Katharina Karcher publishing a paper earlier this year titled: ‘Re-examining CCTV Footage and Re-imagining Justice through a Critical Black Gaze: The ‘Justice 4 Dea-John Reid’ Campaign’s Dark Sousveillance.’

In a social media post about the upcoming vigil on 31 May, Bishop Desmond Jaddoo MBE said: “Please join us as we remember Dea-John, as we continue supporting his family, and as we tell you the next steps in the justice campaign as we launch our quest for ‘Dea-John’s Law’”.

Bishop Jaddoo further told Erdington Local: “This vigil is being held in the middle of a General Election campaign so we will be calling on the major parties to back ‘Dea-John’s Law’.

“The vigil is being held three years to the day Dea-John was killed after being hunted by racists.

“And it is also being held the day after the Kingstanding by-election, which is being held because a ward councillor was caught tweeting vile and racist messages and was forced to resign.”

Joan Morris, Dea-John Reid’s mother, also does not want her son to be forgotten.

She added: “Upon reflection, I will never see Dea-John become a footballer or the dentist that he dreamed off. Nor see Dea- John get engaged and married; nor see Dea-John have children; nor his own home… or even just simply have a conversation with him face-to-face.

“The final act of love I could show to my son was to ensure he had the send-off which he deserved.

“Whilst members of the perpetrator’s family will be able to visit their loved one and eventually see him released back in the community, my only visit to Dea-John is to a grave in a cemetery.”

She continued: “He was hunted by a lynch mob, reminiscent of a scene from Mississippi Burning, being called a ‘n**er’ and as evidence was given a ‘black b**tard’ and ‘bang him out’.

“A jury that was not reflective of Birmingham, who bought the stories given by the defendants in this case, and delivering a verdict against this young man in the dock of merely manslaughter.”

The candlelit vigil to remember Dea-John Reid and inform people about the “next steps” in the ‘Justice 4 Dea-John Reid’ campaign is reported to include songs and speeches, with candles being lit at the exact moment the teenager died of on the Kingstanding road.

Bishop Jaddoo said the Leader of Birmingham Council, Councillor John Cotton (Labour, Glebe Farm and Tile Cross), as well as senior members of West Midlands Police, will be attending the event.

The vigil will be held at 6:30pm on Friday 31 May, on College Road in Kingstanding – opposite McDonald’s, near Watney Grove and Wooton Grove.

For more on the ‘Justice 4 Dea-John Reid’ campaign visit www.facebook.com/Justice4DeaJohnReid

NEWS: Newly elected West Midlands Mayor wants people “to be proud of Erdington High Street”

Profile and campaign pics supplied by Birmingham Labour

Newly elected West Midlands Mayor Richard Parker wants to improve the fortunes of Erdington High Street and for people “to be proud” of the once bustling retail hotspot.

Labour’s first ever West Midlands Mayor won an incredibly tight election against the Conservative and two time elected Andy Street, but now he just wants to get on with the job.

Mr Parker has plans to introduce new policies and innovations to attract businesses to high streets like Erdington’s across the region, which will encourage residents to shop local and invest in their retail community.

He told Erdington Local: “I want people to be proud of Erdington High Street again.

“We will utilise new powers from a Labour government to bring empty shops on our high streets back into use and to help businesses to set up – in partnership with Business Improvement Districts and councils via a range of measures such as compulsory purchasing orders, ‘meanwhile’ uses, and flexible business rates.”

He added: “I want to establish a new Local High Streets Taskforce to ‘innovate and regenerate’ empty shops and to identify derelict sites that can be put back into use.

“We will establish an empty property register for our high streets and a proactive introductions system, which will work with partners to search for occupiers and promote empty spaces.”

The former business consultant and Price Waterhouse Cooper partner is also a big fan of market stalls as a way of revitalising high streets and has pledged to establish a new fund to help support market traders across the region.

Erdington Business Improvement District has itself been exploring plans for a new market to be held on the pedestrianised area by the Co-op supermarket.

Anti-social behaviour is also high on the list for the new West Midlands Mayor, and whilst his office lacks the powers of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) – which would have been absorbed by the Mayor’s office if it had not been recently blocked in the High Court by the PCC Simon Foster – the newly elected West Midlands Mayor Richard Parker wants to fight the scourge of anti-social behaviour and the impact it has on communities.

Mr Parker added: “I will work with the Police and Crime Commissioner, councils, faith and community groups, and West Midlands Police to make the streets of Erdington, Kingstanding, and Castle Vale safer.

“Anti-social behaviour blights the lives of many people and we know that having visible policing out on the streets tackling crime, gathering intelligence, and cracking down on anti-social behaviour is essential to making our communities safer.

“We will guarantee town centre patrols dedicated to their areas.”

For more on West Midlands Mayor Richard Parker visit www.facebook.com/RichardParkerWM

NEWS: Announcement of General Election puts Kingstanding by-election into the political spotlight

Words by Erdington Local election team

The starting gun has been fired in the campaign of the 2024 General Election, putting the upcoming Kingstanding Ward by-election into the spotlight of national politics.

On 22 May, the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a rare summer election with polling day on Thursday, 4 July. And unlike the vast majority of UK constituencies, voters in Erdington are being asked to pick their representative to Westminster for the second time in just over two years.

But as the country gears up to choose who represents them in the national corridors of power once again, another by-election has taken on added significance – as voters across the Kingstanding Ward head to the ballot box on 30 May to replace disgraced Conservative Councillor Rick Payne on Birmingham City Council.

Coming so soon after the recent local elections and before the now announced General Election, the up-coming Kingstanding by-election could be seen as a real electoral litmus test – with the results from the North Birmingham ward representing the feelings of voters across the country.

Candidates for the General Election will be given until Friday 07 June to confirm their intention to stand, but those running for local council in Kingstanding have already declared.

Contesting the seat for Labour will be Naz Rasheed, who ran for Kingstanding alongside Des Hughes in 2022 and lost by a narrow margin – coming fourth in the overall count, but only 65 votes behind Rick Payne who came in second.

Naz Rasheed fought a fierce campaign in the 2022 local elections, putting youth services and tackling crime in the area at the top of her agenda.

Also in the running will be Patrick Christopher Lee for the Green Party, who according to a Twitter profile under his name is the Communication Manager for the health focused NGO Impact on Urban Health – based in London.

Standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is Erdington resident and keen HMO activist Kris O’Sullivan, who was a big part of the Dave Nellist parliamentary campaign during the Birmingham Erdington by-election in 2022.

Hoping to repair the damage done by his now disgraced predecessor is Conservative candidate Clifton Walsh – a well known local resident who has previously stood for the Pype Hayes Ward in local council elections, losing out to Labour’s candidates by 92 votes in 2022 and only 16 votes in 2018.

Ahead of his run for the Kingstanding Ward, Mr Welsh launched the ‘Pride in Kingstanding’ campaign, encouraging community litter picking as Birmingham City Council faces cuts to its street cleaning services.

On the ticket for the Workers Party of Britain is Pete Higgins – representing George Galloway’s socialist and socially conservative political party that formed in 2019 and won the Rochdale by-election in 2024 on a strong pro-Palestine agenda.

Being held on Thursday, 30 May, the Kingstanding by-election is somewhat of a poisoned chalice for the main two political parties.

Conservatives do not want voters across the country to be reminded how one of their councillors was caught spewing racism on a secret Twitter account – and Labour do not want a light shone on their party’s very public record of running Birmingham City Council into financial chaos.

But whatever side you support in this game of political football, all the seven candidates standing in the Kingstanding by-election will have a lot more attention on their campaigns than they could ever envisaged – as the country warms up for a General Election on 4 July.

For more on both local and national elections held across the UK, alongside advice on how to register to vote, visit www.electoralcommission.org.uk

NEWS: Evening of Creativity brings international music and musicians to Erdington on 17 May

Words by Lily Higgins / Pics supplied by Erdington Arts Forum

Erdington’s longstanding arts and music showcase, the Evening of Creativity, return to Oikos Café on Friday 17 May – running from 6:30pm – 9:30pm at the popular Erdington High Street venue.

Organised by the Erdington Arts Forum, the Evening of Creativity is one of Birmingham’s longest running music nights and will be approaching its seven year anniversary in June.

Sicilian singer Manuel Cangemi is travelling all the way from Germany for the event in May. His passion for music started at a young age, merging opera, classical music, and together – accompanied by his Sicilian origins. He will be singing songs by legends Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and others.

Drums Aloud will be performing rhythms which have been taught to them by master West African drummers. They will have up to eight drummers at their Evening of Creativity performance, playing on djembe – a hand drum, and dunduns which are bass drums played with a stick with a bell. Nigel Saddler of the group has been teaching drumming for 14 – 15 years.

Also performing are the two piece band Skint, from Tamworth. Skint perform country style music which they call “council estate poetry”. They will play a set of originals tracks which talk about dealing with being ‘skint’ in England in 2024, including songs ‘Cost of Living’ and ‘Cash Converter’.

When you put your hand in Grandma’s biscuit tin you never know what you’re going to get… which is how the band Grandma’s Biscuit Tin invented their named. An ensemble consisting of five 5 eclectic musicians, the band are classically trained musicians with a huge passion for jazz.

Grandma’s Biscuit Tin have been together for about a decade, who just started out as friends and family having a jam session, and their repertoire includes trad-standards with their own twist.

The International award winning Birmingham Opera company will also be performing at Oikos café.

Jobe Sullivan told Erdington Local: “I think Erdington needs to trumpet loudly what a brilliant achievement the Evening of Creativity is. Seven years, 84 events… not including all our satellite events in Kingstanding, Castle Vale, and other places in the constituency.

“It’s so great to have acts visiting us from around the world – Joana Carvalhas on her world tour, a touring group from New Zealand, an opera singer who flew in from Germany the night before.”

He added: “But our bread and butter are the community. Featuring visual artists, and encouraging choirs, bands, from everywhere – and Erdington is at the heart of it. Erdington has a huge heart, and we’ve been quietly kicking-ass here for seven years, come hell or high water.”

The next Evening of Creativity events will be held at Oikos Café on 17 May and 21 June, between 6:30pm – 9:30pm.

For more information and links to online ticket sales visit: www.facebook.com/ErdingtonArts

This content was generated and supported by GET WRITING GET WORKING and LOCAL AMBASSADORS – to get involved in local journalism and find opportunities in the creative industries email [email protected]

BACK TO WORK: Fort Dunlop based Precision Micro launches 2024 apprenticeship drive

Words by BTW editorial team and Precision Micro / Pics supplied by Precision Micro

World leading, Erdington based, engineering company Precision Micro is looking for a fresh cohort of 16-21 year olds for its 2024 apprenticeship drive.

Based on Vantage Way, a stone’s throw from the Fort Shopping Park and Castle Vale, the internationally renowned photochemical etching company has been training young people for years – giving them the specialist skills they need for a career in precision engineering.

Providing opportunities for local young people, Precision Micro has welcomed students from Greenwood Academy through previous apprenticeship drives – getting them set on a lifelong career path at the cutting edge of engineering.

Throughout their comprehensive four-year program, apprentices will gain invaluable hands-on experience across all departments within Precision Micro – refining the crucial skills necessary for producing precision-etched metal components.

A global player in chemical etching, Precision Micro plays a key role in critical applications across many sectors, including lifesaving surgery, military jets, luxury cars, surveillance drones, and more.

Applications for the Precision Micro apprenticeship 2024 drive will be accepted until 31 May.

Successful candidates will commence their apprenticeships in September 2024 while pursuing a Level 3 qualification in engineering through Birmingham Metropolitan College – James Watt Campus.

A proud management-owned business situated at Fort Dunlop, Precision Micro’s commitment to investing in its workforce is underscored by Director and Co-owner Mick Taylor, who embarked on his career journey as an apprentice himself thirty years ago.

Mick shared his enthusiasm, telling Erdington Local: “With substantial investments in our facility and equipment in recent years, there has never been a more exciting time to join Precision Micro.

“Our previous cohort of apprentices have flourished, contributing to our culture while gaining invaluable insights into our business and the industries we serve.”

In 2022, Greenwood Academy students Clayton and Kyle started out on the Precision Micro apprenticeship program – taking their first steps into the world of work with the Erdington based engineering company, just as the firm’s current Director and Co-owner Mick Taylor did three decades ago.

Clayton told Erdington Local: “I have gained a vast amount of knowledge that helps me in different situations to either solve problems, guide jobs around the process or to work on the different projects that are incomplete”.

Kyle added: “Everyone at Precision Micro is so kind, helpful, and approachable, meaning you never have to feel scared to ask questions.

“My time here so far has helped me to grow as a person, in confidence and knowledge, so I can’t thank the business enough for this opportunity.”

Since 2019, Precision Micro has invested more than £7million in upgrading its Erdington based facility – including £1.8 million in 2024, building a second etch room that significantly increases capacity and underpins its ambitious growth strategy.

Across 2024, the world leading engineering firm has plans to grow by a further 20%, with existing and new apprenticeships playing an integral role in the company’s long-term success.

Precision Micro’s 2024 apprenticeship drive is open to local young people aged between 16-21 – anyone interested should register their interest before 31 May.

To make an application visit www.resources.precisionmicro.com/apprenticeships

For more on Precision Micro visit www.precisionmicro.com

NEWS: West Midlands has its first Labour Mayor as Richard Parker wins by narrow margin

Pics sourced from candidates and Erdington Local archives

The West Midlands has a Labour Mayor for the first time.

Labour candidate Richard Parker narrowly beat the two-term Conservative Mayor Andy Street, the only man to previously hold the role after winning the first contest in 2017.

Due to a recount and technical difficulties, the announcement at Birmingham International Convention Centre was delayed by over seven hours.

This was also the first time the Mayoral election was decided by the First Past the Post voting system, unlike the second preferences style poll in previous elections.

But once the final results were verified, Labour’s Richard Parker clinched 225,590 votes to the Conservative’s Andy Street’s 224,082 votes – in an astonishingly close result.

Independent candidate Akhmed Yakoob, who Erdington Local was amongst the first to profile in their race for West Midlands Mayor, was the clear third place choice – clocking up 69, 621 votes.

Reform UK’s Elaine Williams came fourth with 34, 471 votes.

Coming in fifth was Gravelly Hill resident and Green Party candidate Siobhan Harper-Nunes, who earned 31,036 votes.

Ms Harper-Nunes fought a fierce campaign without major backing or finances from her national party, and previously told Erdington Local she believed “just running is winning” as it allowed her to place what she felt were important issues on the agenda.

To read a full our LOCAL PROIFILE with Siobhan Harper-Nunes, click here.

The Liberal Democrats came in last with Sunny Virk convincing 12,176 people to put a cross next to his name.

There were 4,757 rejected ballots in the Mayoral elections, compared to 23,000 in the Police and Crime Commissioners election which was announced earlier in the day and saw Labour’s candidate Simon Foster re-elected.

The results from both elections, held on 2 May, mean this is the first time since the West Midlands Mayor and West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) offices were created that the same political party holds both offices.

However, the result in the race for West Midlands Mayor could have been a more conclusive for Labour without the impact from independent candidate Akhmed Yakoob – who galvanised communities across the West Midlands who felt anger over Sir Keir Starmer’s stance on refusing to call a ceasefire in Gaza last year.

Mr Yakoob won his third place through on a prominent social media, anti-Labour, pro-Palestine, George Galloway backed campaign, that only began four weeks ago but was helped by experienced ex-Labour councillors and members.

However, one the votes were counted, and recounted, the job of West Midladns Mayor and Chaor of the West Midlands Combined Authority went to Labour’s Richard Parker. After being declared the next West Midlands Mayor, MrParker said: “This is the most important thing I will ever do.

“This week people voted for the person and the party. They recognised that a Labour mayor can make a positive difference in this region.

“I believe a Labour Mayor working with a Labour Government will get this region back to its best again.”

Acknowledging his party’s massive loss of trust of the Muslim community, who voted for Mr Yakoob in unprecedented numbers for an independent candidate, Mr Parker further pledged to: “Build back trust within the Muslim community.”

Offering warm words to his vanquished opponent, he added: “Andy Street. You’ve led this region through a number of great challenges.

“You deserve credit through building up the combined authority into the powerhouse it is today, through the economic shocks and for leading this region when it came out of covid.

“I absolutely believe that whilst our politics are different, Andy, we both have the best interests of the West Midlands at heart.”

Mr Street responded: “I wish you all strength and wisdom as you take over the reins.

“It has been my honour to serve and to lead this place for the last seven years. I hope I’ve done it with dignity and integrity and I hope I’ve bequeathed to Richard a combined authority – and indeed a role – to which young, aspiring leaders will want to aspire one day.”

Whilst the delayed results to the count were coming in, there was frustration online as the West Midlands Combined Authority live election stream cut out after a day of gaffes, glitches, and technical difficulties which meant viewers could not see the speeches of Mr Street, Mr Yakoob, and other candidates.

However, after the final count was in Mr Yakoob told Erdington Local: “This has been an incredible four weeks. Imagine if we had started three months ago, we started with what people called was just a TikTok campaign.

“Well, we got nearly 70,000 votes and almost lost Labour what should have been an easy victory.

“Thanks to everyone for voting, I believe I got more young people registered and voting than any other candidate.

“Thank you for everyone in Erdington who supported my campaign, we had plenty volunteers from Erdington, and it looks like a lot of voters too.”

An official poll card for government elections and a UK photo driving licence as prove of identity.

Mr Yakoob added: “You wait till the General Election; I will be back.”

The next General Election is set to be held before January 2025.

The turnout for the West Midlands Mayoral election was 29.8% across the West Midlands, and in Birmingham it was 28.5 per cent.

For more on Richard Parker visit www.facebook.com/RichardParkerWM