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Region’s unemployed to benefit from £9 million training package targeting key sectors like care and construction

Published: Thursday 16 Dec 2021

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has awarded £9 million funding for job training packages aimed at getting unemployed residents back into work quickly to support the region's post Covid-19 economic recovery.

The funding will be delivered through the Sector Based Work Academy Program (SWAP) and is designed to quickly train up people with the skills the region's businesses need in sectors such as care, construction and warehousing.

The SWAP programme is based on job vacancies highlighted by employers and those taking part not only receive training tailored to the role but are also provided with vital work experience and a guaranteed job interview.

Region’s unemployed to benefit from £9 million training package targeting key sectors like care and construction

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: We know the pandemic has hit our region incredibly hard and impacted people's livelihoods, which is why it is vitally important we get people the skills and qualifications they need to move back into good quality work and further their careers.

The WMCA helps fund a series of measures to help make this happen as part of my 100,000 jobs plan, one of which is the SWAPs programme. We know there is a shortage of workers in sectors such as care, construction, digital and warehousing, and so this latest targeted intervention will help tackle that and support some of our unemployed residents back into work

In an innovative approach to SWAP training the £9 million three-year contract has been awarded to Oldbury-based training specialist BCTG to develop a consortium of training providers which will deliver the programme region-wide.

Chris Luty, BCTG Group chief executive, said We're really pleased that BCTG has been selected by WMCA to lead this new project.

We already know the SWAP programme is a really effective way for West Midlands' residents to access high quality training, that leads to long term jobs; and for employers, is a simple route to access applicants matched to their vacancies.

BCTG has many years' experience in the skills sector in the West Midlands. Our role will be to develop a consortium of local training providers who already have close links to businesses; and help them develop new and innovative ways to deliver SWAP's, to fill their employer's vacancies

SWAP training is run in conjunction with DWP (The Department for Work and Pensions) and provides a route to retrain quickly for residents seeking work.

Businesses of any size who are looking to fill vacancies are encouraged to consider using SWAP training as part of their recruitment.

Anyone aged 19 and over who receives unemployment benefit is eligible to join a programme and will not lose their benefit during the placement. There is no direct cost to employers, as training and administration costs are covered by government funding.

Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council and WMCA's portfolio holder for productivity and skills, said: I welcome this investment in people, in opportunities and in training and education.

SWAPs offer unemployed people a real and tangible route back into work and a chance to learn new, much-needed skills

Over the next few days BCTG will be inviting local training providers to become involved. Anyone wishing to find our more should contact us on

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