Bournemouth and Poole College Celebrate Success of Pilot Back-to-Work Learning Initiative

Bournemouth and Poole College has announced the remarkable success of its pilot back-to-work learning initiative, the Sector Work Academy Programme (SWAP), which aims to tackle local unemployment and bridge skills gaps.

The college’s Sector Work Academy Programme (SWAP) initiative is a collaboration with Sunseeker International and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The programme provided a group of 17 unemployed individuals, referred by the DWP, with access to a free, four-week intensive course to equip individuals with key skills covering health and safety, employability, as well as carpentry, culminating in the opportunity to interview for an apprenticeship role at Sunseeker International. Five individuals have successfully secured an apprenticeship with the luxury yacht manufacturer.

Course participant Mariusz Golkowski, age 45, became homeless in October last year and is one of the successful five Sunseeker apprentices. He said: “After losing everything, my job and my home, as well as losing all contact with my family, I became homeless last year and after hitting rock bottom I was in desperate need to improve my situation. When you have nothing, you have zero confidence, and this is when the DWP referred me onto the Bournemouth and Poole College SWAP course. I don’t give up easily and want a new start, a new life, and this programme has given me refreshed hope, boosting my confidence and helping me to learn new skills to achieve an apprenticeship with Sunseeker.

“After being unemployed and homeless for several months, I now have accommodation and am beginning to turn things around to get my life back on track. I’m looking forward to making progress with my apprenticeship while studying at the college and earning a wage.”  

Phil Sayles, Principal, added: “Bournemouth and Poole College is here to support everyone in our community to get on in life, and at work, through learning new skills, including adults. We believe that learning is a life-changing experience and can make a real difference to a person’s wellbeing.  We’re incredibly proud of the success achieved through the trial of our Sector Work Academy Programme (SWAP).

“The SWAP initiative shows the power of collaboration between colleges, employers and government departments in addressing unemployment and creating pathways to great employment. The enthusiasm and determination of our SWAP learners throughout the training was evident and we congratulate Sunseeker’s latest apprentices and wish Mariusz and the other students well as they embark on their apprenticeship and career journeys.”

Paul Hayler at Sunseeker International added: “Sunseeker remains committed to investing in talent development and providing individuals with the skills and opportunities needed to thrive in the marine industry. We’re delighted to welcome the new apprentices to the team.”

Plans are now underway to implement SWAP as an on-going initiative and Bournemouth and Poole College will look to enrol a further group of individuals, referred by the DWP, this July for a September start date.

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