Reignite Your Future – Regional Skills Recovery Programme

Explore new opportunities and new directions.

Walsall College is part of Colleges West Midlands and the West Midlands Combined Authority’s initiative to help get people whose careers have been impacted by Covid-19 back into work. Adults aged 19 and over can enrol and participate in free skills training without losing their benefits.  All programmes are linked to in-demand jobs and local industry areas that are set to grow in future.

Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs)

Sector-based work academy programmes (SWAPs) can support you to create a skilled workforce for your business. They'll help prepare those receiving unemployment benefits to apply for jobs in a different area of work. Placements are designed to help meet your immediate and future recruitment needs as well as to recruit a workforce with the right skills to sustain and grow your business. A SWAP is administered by Jobcentre Plus and available in England and Scotland.

A sector-based work academy can last up to 6 weeks. Placements have 3 main components:

  1. pre-employment training – matched to the needs of your business sector
  2. work experience placement – a great opportunity for your business to identify talent and for the individual to cement their knowledge and understanding of the required role
  3. a guaranteed job interview or help with an employer’s recruitment process

If you are unable to offer all 3 components, Walsall College may be able to work with you to overcome this, such as enabling you to join together with other similar employers in a consortium approach or put on bespoke training programmes suited to your business needs.

Participants remain on benefits while on a SWAP placement. The government will pay any travel and childcare costs whilst benefit claimants are on the scheme. There is no direct cost to an employer for running a sector-based work academy as training and administration costs are covered by government funding.

How your business could benefit

Your business could benefit from offering SWAP placements for the following reasons:

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


Employers we have worked with include:

If you would like to set up a Sector-based Work Academy with us or would just like to get more information, please complete the form below.