Jobseekers from Worthing and Bognor Regis get railway job opportunities through new scheme
Jobseekers from Worthing and Bognor Regis have had the opportunity to get a job on the railways through a new scheme.
Despite the onset of a second national lockdown, the UK’s largest rail operator – Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) – launched its first Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) with East Sussex College this month.
The four-week training programme launched on Monday, November 2 with 12 candidates picked by the Jobcentre Plus teams in Hove, Worthing and Bognor Regis.
All of the candidates had face-to-face teaching for the first three days, until the second lockdown came into force, when the course moved to ‘blended virtual learning with online lectures and one-to-one support from assessors’. To follow social distancing measures, the candidates were split into two smaller groups of six for physical lessons.
Designed with Sussex Skills Solutions - part of East Sussex College) and Jobcentre Plus - the SWAP aims to break down barriers that many people face when seeking employment. Targeted at those who are long-term unemployed or who aren’t in training or education – the programme has given candidates the opportunity to develop essential employability skills whilst gaining qualifications. Interviews are now underway for two permanent, full-time roles at GTR’s Southern stations, a GTR spokesman said.
Angie Doll, Managing Director for Southern and Gatwick Express, said: “We’re committed to providing support in the communities we serve and feel it is more important than ever to help people in society that may be at risk of exclusion.
“With unemployment rates increasing, we’re proud to have worked with East Sussex College on a dedicated Sector-based Work Academy Programme aimed at upskilling unemployed individuals to get them ready for the world of work. This is just part of our wider strategy to enable social mobility.”
Stephen Burkes, Director of Sussex Skills Solutions, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Govia Thameslink Railway on this exciting new Sector-based Work Academy Programme. We’re very pleased that we have been able to create a bespoke training programme that will offer people valuable skills in customer service and employability, as well as offer two full-time jobs with Southern. For those who are unsuccessful in gaining those roles, this course will enable them to become better equipped in their search for work.
“We’re also hugely thankful to the Department for Work and Pensions for their help and support in helping to get this Sector-based Work Academy Programme up and running, marketing the offer to their customer, and supporting us throughout the application process.”
Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP, added: “It’s great to see local jobseekers benefit from our vital partnership with Govia Thameslink Railway and East Sussex College supporting them to boost their employability though the SWAPs scheme. All candidates will be leaving this placement with new skills and qualifications to pivot into expanding sectors and enter meaningful employment – and with a guaranteed interview on completion, I wish them every success.”