This sector-based programme is up to six weeks long, including a company work placement, and consists of:

Pre-employment training – relevant to the needs of your business sector. Work experience placement – of great benefit to the individual and a business. A guaranteed job interview

How can my business benefit from SWAPs?

There are loads of ways your business can benefit from being part of a SWAP:

  • Flexibility: This is a flexible programme that can be tailored to meet your recruitment needs
  • Highly trained employees: You can recruit staff with the right training and skills from the outset, developed through fully-funded pre-employment training
  • Gauge new talent: This is an opportunity to provide work experience placements for potential employees to ensure they are suited to that type of role and your company
  • Development your existing employees: Work experience placements allow developmental opportunities for existing employees, for example by working on their mentoring, supervisory and coaching skills
  • Hassle-free recruitment: It reduces the risks within the overall process of recruiting new employees
  • Positive publicity: An opportunity to show how like-minded businesses are working together to meet their social responsibilities

What is the recruitment process?

The vacancy is advertised with the Jobcentre and also sent out to community partners. The college has a hotline which allows work coaches to refer their claimants, after which a phone assessment is done with the individual to check their suitability against the employer requirements.

Successful candidates are invited for an assessment day the following week, in which the employer will be fully involved. Assessment will include English and maths, communication, and team building.

The courses will start the following week with online learning, while the placement can last anywhere from one day to two weeks, followed by an interview.

What is the criteria for students?

Pre-employment training and sector-based work academies are free if you are:

Over the age of 19 years on 31/08/2020, and are actively seeking employment

In receipt of Universal Credit, Job Seekers Allowance, or Employment Support Allowance (Work Related Activity Group)

Earning less than £17,004 annual gross salary (you will need to provide evidence of annual salary, e.g. three months’ payslips, Universal Credit statement, and your employment contract)

Sector Gateways

Sector Gateway schemes have been introduced by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to tackle skill shortages in particular sectors, such as construction and care. The aim is to find local, high quality jobs for people who want to enter a particular industry.

With the West Midlands experiencing exceptional economic growth, the construction industry is benefiting from billions of pounds worth of investment. HS2 and other major infrastructure projects will also require significant additional talent from the construction sector. The Construction Gateway will support more than 2,200 people to enter work through employer-based training.

It also includes a 20-day pre-employment programme, which introduces the skills required to work on-site. The scheme also directly links students to employers, with guaranteed job interviews at the end of the course. Run on behalf of the local employers, we currently offer a variety of Sector Gateway programmes for employers including Balfour Beatty Vinci, Flannery, VGC Group, Danny Sullivan Group, Paragon, Sense, and more.