College group partners with Department for Work and Pensions to deliver retraining scheme

Nelson and Colne College Group is helping the local community to retrain through an employment programme with the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Sector Based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) has been rolled out as a tool to train and recruit members of staff to non-teaching roles within the college group, including classroom assistants and exam invigilators – with more than 70 people already applying since its launch in November. 

SWAP, which is a key component of the UK government’s £30bn Plan for Jobs, offers participants the chance to gain pre-employment training, alongside valuable work experience and a guaranteed job interview.

Those taking part will develop vital skills to give them the best opportunity in securing work with employers who have a number of vacancies, or operate across a growth sector.

Lancashire Adult Learning – part of Nelson and Colne College Group – has previously adopted the SWAP format, in partnership with DWP, to support large employers including Morrisons and Greggs with the training of individuals in their recruitment process, particularly where there have been a number of vacancies to fill.

Delivery of SWAP has been adapted to a digital format in recent months to take into account COVID-19 restrictions, meaning participants can receive learning in the safety and comfort of their own homes or in a COVID-secure learning environment. 

Nicola Hall, executive head of curriculum for innovation and partnerships at Nelson and Colne College Group, said: “In response to the pandemic and its effects on the employment market, we wanted to act to support the communities in which we operate by offering places onto our SWAP, leading to potential employment thereafter with the college group.

“I’m thrilled that through our partnership with DWP, we have been able to respond rapidly to get this programme up and running, to support Jobcentre customers with employability skills and vital experience and progress them into a number of vacancies within the College Group, or towards the employment market.

“The exciting opportunity with the SWAP format is that they can be adapted to a wide range of non-teaching roles, including catering, cleaning and administrative roles, to name just a few, meaning there is scope for further development across the college group.”

Cathy Ross, an employer adviser manager for the Department, said: “Our relationship with Nelson and Colne College Group continues to flourish. We have successfully partnered with its Lancashire Adult Learning arm on a number of recent projects to support local residents into work and promote local economic recovery.

“We’re now supporting the wider Nelson and Colne College Group with the SWAP format to help them fill a number of exam invigilator and teaching assistant posts. To have 70 individuals already embrace this opportunity is a fantastic start, and we are very excited to have the college group on board as both a delivery partner and key local employer with a range of vacancies across the education sector in non-teaching roles.” 

For more information on Nelson and Colne College Group, please visit www.nelsongroup.ac.uk.

Anybody interested in joining Nelson and Colne College Group as the next step in their career can visit www.careers.nelson.ac.uk.