Justice Minister Lord McNally has praised Birmingham City Council and support services and construction company Carillion for offering apprenticeship and training schemes on the new Library of Birmingham development - including life-changing opportunities for ex-offenders.
The Deputy Leader of the House of Lords made his comments while visiting the site where Carillion is the Council's construction partner.
He particularly welcomed an innovative partnership with a local open prison where Carillion is looking at how it can best support ex offender work placements to facilitate the inmates' journey back into full time employment.
The Library of Birmingham is due to open next year and is set to become a cultural and iconic destination for Birmingham - changing the city's landscape and re-writing the book for 21st century libraries in the process.
During its time on the Library of Birmingham Carillion will create up to 250 local employment opportunities, with 75 apprentices and 30 places for the homeless under the Business Action on Homelessness (BAOH) scheme.
Working with Birmingham City Council's Employment Access Team (EAT), the apprenticeship opportunities target some of the hardest to reach groups across the city. With EAT, the Carillion team was also able to apply for and become a registered National Skills Academy for Construction.
It's the first stand-alone project where Carillion has been able to achieve this, and Carillion says being able to provide an on-site training centre and NVQ courses, including basic skills as well as CV writing and self confidence workshops, bring huge benefits.
Lord McNally said: "The new Library is hugely impressive building and will be a wonderful new asset and landmark for the city of Birmingham. To use such a high profile project to offer the vulnerable or those with troubled backgrounds a chance to turn their lives around is highly commendable. The training, work experience and learning on display sets a clear example for others to follow and I applaud Birmingham City Council and Carillion for their leadership and vision."
Simon Dingle, Carillion's Operations Director on the Library of Birmingham, added: "Right from the start we have worked in close partnership with Birmingham City Council to ensure this project is a positive experience for Birmingham throughout the construction phase and that we leave a legacy of valuable training and apprenticeship opportunities for local people.
It's also been a genuine team effort with full cooperation right across our supply chain. Carillion is recognised as being a leading sustainable business - and doing everything we can to support sustainable communities is a key part of this."