Skip to main content

Case Study Highlights

Employer Case Studies – bullet points and quotes lifted for marketing

Barhale Holdings Plc.

  • When recruiting for specialist job vacancies, having third party support can be vital. Though the Digital Retraining scheme, candidates are rapidly upskilled with higher digital expertise in infrastructure and cyber using an intensive training approach. Accessing this type of talent alongside training support from IT-sector experts has been extremely helpful for Barhale Holdings Plc.

  • Thanks to the WMCA Digital Retraining scheme, Netcom Training were able to put forward just the right candidates for the role after spending time reviewing the job description and conditions. As a result, Netcom matched Barhale’s requirements with suitable individuals who had just been upskilled ready for in-depth interviews. One of these candidates was successful and offered the job.

  • Kat Betts, Recruitment Manager for Barhale Holdings Plc:
    “When posts such as specialist digital/IT positions are created, they can involve quite niche candidate searches. Recruitment Managers don’t always know the intricacies of specialist jobs like these, so if somebody else can offer advice and have people ready to go, that can be fantastically helpful.”

  • Kat Betts, Recruitment Manager for Barhale Holdings Plc:

“It's hard enough to find the right candidate at the best of times, so if we can try other avenues like this as well, it really helps. Of course, we use the usual online channels for permanent vacancies – our website, CV Library etc - but this is another way of finding people who meet our expectations with the right experience and qualifications. Netcom came up with some great quality candidates.”

  • Kat Betts, Recruitment Manager for Barhale Holdings Plc:

“Our needs were definitely met. The training provider was very communicative and had the expertise to pick the perfect candidate from their books to do the job. When we next recruit for digital posts, we will certainly give Netcom the vacancies before we do anything else to see if they have anyone on their training who would suit us. It's such a straightforward way of working.”

Midland Metro Alliance (MMA)

  • Rose Rees, Head of Engagement and Skills at Midland Metro Alliance:
    “I think Sector-Based Work Academy Programmes are the best-kept secret! Led by businesses, they’re geared up for what individual employers need. I was very involved in designing the SWAP.”

  • Instead of light-weight employability training, MMA required accredited qualifications that addressed immediate and future recruitment needs. As a result […] Dudley College even added a Banksman qualification (designed specifically for railway signaller roles), making the cohort more appealing to potential traffic management employers.

  • In total, 56 unemployed candidates enrolled [on the 2017 SWAP], and 50 completed the 6-week programme. […] A phenomenal 26 individuals gained employment due to SWAP; others achieved jobs soon after, benefitting from the skills gained through the programme.

  • Ten local unemployed candidates enrolled [on the 2021 SWAP], and all completed. Eight progressed, and six are now halfway through their 18-month apprenticeship and working on the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension.

  • Rose Rees, Head of Engagement and Skills at Midland Metro Alliance:
    “Many of the individuals on the original SWAP are still employed by MMA today and progressing in their jobs. Some have taken supervisory qualifications, and others are now employed by the railway specialists Colas Rail to work on track installation. This is a great example of how an investment of government money can make a huge difference.

  • Rose Rees, Head of Engagement and Skills at Midland Metro Alliance:
    “The programme benefitted MMA managers too. They enjoyed mentoring young people offering a fresh perspective. It’s so rewarding to see individuals from the original cohort still working on site and being promoted […] We will definitely consider another SWAP cohort.”

  • For Midland Metro Alliance (MMA), the biggest advantages of using SWAP as a recruitment method are:
    • Getting to know candidates for six weeks – monitoring attendance, punctuality, and attitude towards training and college staff.
    • Visiting candidates to see what they are learning and enjoying. A formal panel interview is still used but you’re more likely to find exceptional and committed talent.
    • It boosts productivity, retention, and the business bottom line.

Monarch Education

  • The fast-track SWAP programme is an effective way to rejuvenate workforces and plugs future skills gaps with fresh talent. It also supports unemployed local people in areas of work they may never have previously considered.

  • Natasha Shannon, Divisional Manager for Support Services at Monarch Education:
    “Pet-Xi [training provider] seemed a natural fit, so we met and talked about how they could get clients employment-ready. There was lots of flexibility and they really catered to our needs.”

  • By using SWAP, Monarch can now ensure clients are employable for schools that are recruiting. Individuals are thoroughly vetted and compliant, have references, complete safeguard training, have DBS fees covered, learn about various roles available through Monarch, and are all job ready.

  • Natasha Shannon, Divisional Manager for Support Services at Monarch Education:
    “Our yield of candidates in non-teaching roles has increased by around 25% as a result of running SWAPs […] Our needs have absolutely been met through SWAPs. We needed more recruits that were job-ready and trained from being in the Jobcentre environment, and SWAPs delivered this. Our experience with PET-Xi is also very positive and we will continue to use them.”

  • Around 80% of Monarch recruits who attended the SWAP training move onto work, as they have everything they need to go straight into a school. Others who need further support spend time with a jobs coach looking at barriers to work.

  • Natasha Shannon, Divisional Manager for Support Services at Monarch Education:
    “My advice to other employers considering SWAPs is simply what are you waiting for?! We’ve has some amazing people come through […] For us, SWAPs are great stepping-stones that give individuals purpose and the confidence to progress to a role with longer hours.”


OCS Group UK

  • Lucy Haddon, Head of Engagement & Experience at OCS Group UK:

“SWAP training is especially suited to unemployed individuals seeking a new career, and who may have more flexibility with time and be new to the industry. Around 60-70% of our recruitment headcount is door supervisors, so we're always in the market for them, given the large demand.”

  • Lucy Haddon, Head of Engagement & Experience at OCS Group UK:

“Established providers have got the expertise and knowledge that makes everything run smoothly. For me, this isn’t just about numbers; it’s about social value and legacy afterwards. Eventcover and Mercury both have security backgrounds, so they're able to deliver new clients by really helping them understand what it's like and help them through that employment journey.”

  • Lucy Haddon, Head of Engagement & Experience at OCS Group UK:

“Learners actually become security officers, and that's where the impact is seen. That kind of experience gives you a better calibre of candidates because they are more prepared for what is ahead. If you’re engaging with SWAPs, it’s vital to have a trainer who really knows your industry. Otherwise, you’re spending money on qualifications that nobody's going to use.”

  • Lucy Haddon, Head of Engagement & Experience at OCS Group UK:

“One great example of this is a SWAP candidate that worked as a steward whilst they were waiting for the SIA licence to come through. After a shout out for admin support during the Games, they became a huge part of the OCS recruitment campaign and helped on-board individuals for other SWAPs! That person is still on our books and working for us today.”

  • Top tips for managing a SWAP:

    • SWAPs are a great way to support the local community and upskill people but remember to consider the size and scale of the project and be realistic about what can be achieved.

    • Carefully match your needs with a training provider and ensure they understand your business inside out. A specialist who understands your sector can be invaluable.

    • Be engaged with the SWAP training provider and be closely involved. As much as possible, make sure the SWAP configuration meets your specific needs and those of your candidates.

PSR Solutions Ltd

  • Abdul Mozzamdar, PSR Group Social Value Director:
    “We engaged with WMCA Construction Gateway scheme as we noticed we were struggling to recruit in certain specialist fields. It made sense to tap into new avenues of talent through the Gateway and get them out into work. We have a close relationship with WMCA, so we are always happy to explore projects together.”

  • The Construction Gateway provides formal, job entry construction training through classroom provision and practical onsite experience with Tier 1 employers and their supply chain. Individuals gain qualifications that are essential to work on any site, such as the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card, and more in-depth training.

  • Abdul Mozzamdar, PSR Group Social Value Director:
    “WMCA helped to link PSR with local training providers, including Dudley and Wolverhampton Colleges. There are niche construction and rail skills shortages which these specific providers could help with by offering a railway pathway as well as construction skills.”

  • Abdul Mozzamdar, PSR Group Social Value Director:
    “Under other circumstances, we might consider Apprentices to fill skills gaps, but demand from the industry is often very immediate. The benefit of this training is that it offers individuals with skills who can hit the ground running.”

  • Karl Johnson, PSR Senior Social Value Executive:
    “The calibre of all the candidates [interviewed] has been high. Every individual has now been added to our system, ready for vacancies as they become available. Given the diversity of job roles in the construction industry, we can match up specialisms whenever there is availability.”

  • Karl Johnson, PSR Senior Social Value Executive:
    “We placed several candidates through SWAPs and Gateways with Wolverhampton College - we can’t fault them! The calibre of people coming through is excellent, and we’ve had some great case studies of individuals who have retrained for the construction industry after the Covid pandemic.”

  • Top tip from PSR Solutions Ltd:

Feedback from PSR is that SWAPs and Gateway schemes are a great alternative to traditional recruitment methods, especially when looking to widen reach and attract new talent pools. PSR found that to get the best outcomes, they need to be involved from inception.

By working closely with training providers, PSR can ensure that needs are met and that processes are joined up. From explaining touchpoints and having input on training to getting to know the candidates on courses first-hand, the more PSR are involved, the more likelihood there is of producing candidates with in-demand skills.

When this is made possible, PSR can then offer interviews with their sector-specific consultants who aim to connect those candidates with long-term employment opportunities in the region. In the future, it is hoped training will target site engineering shortages and construction site specialists to produce candidates with the broad knowledge required by the industry.