University graduate struggling on universal credit helped work with Jobcentre program


A college graduate who struggled to find work and had to apply for universal credit was helped find a job by learning new skills in a completely different industry.

When Mohammed graduated from college in forensics and psychology, Covid had struck and the career path he had chosen was not that easy to break through.

He claimed universal credit and was impatient and eager to work to support his family.

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With the help of his work coach, Matthew, at the Scunthorpe Jobcentre, Mohammed was proposed to undertake a Sector Based Work Academy (SWAP).

The SWAP program is an opportunity to learn new skills and gain work experience in a particular sector, for example care, construction or warehouse work. This particular course was aimed at acquiring skills for working on railways.

The program is designed to help job seekers, who claim either Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), to build their confidence, improve their job prospects and improve their CVs.

SWAPs last up to six weeks and consist of three parts:

  • pre-employment training – a short vocational training module led by a local college or training provider,

  • experience working with an employer in the industry, where you can learn new skills on the job,

  • at the end of the program, either a job interview with an employer in the sector, or if an interview cannot be offered, helps the application process.

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Participants continue to receive benefits while participating in a SWAP, and if there are reasonable travel costs or necessary childcare costs, they can be taken into account through the Flexible Support Fund which is there to remove barriers to employment.

The SWAP program is designed to help improve job prospects, help employers fill positions, as each SWAP is linked to one or more real job postings. Although there is no guarantee of employment after completing a SWAP, it helps improve the chances of getting a job in this industry.

Matthew received feedback from the training provider that Mohammed was doing very well and his enthusiasm was evident from the start.

Mohammed received his Sentinel card at the end of the course, which shows that Mohammed was assessed as being trained and competent to work in the railways.

Mohammed said: “The rail SWAP has been an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone.

“From a career perspective, this opportunity opens a door and leads to a lot of possibilities for a person to work in a respected industry with a great salary. I am always in touch with my trainers who want to help me with them. next steps.

“Without the Scunthorpe Jobcentre I would never have had this opportunity. They paid for my travel to attend the course and I really appreciate the support they gave me.

“Matthew, my work coach was a constant source of support and encouragement and was always thrilled when I passed every test on the way to qualifying. It meant a lot that he was there for me as a mentor who m ‘accompanied throughout the challenge “

Matthew, Mohammed’s work trainer, said: “I could see that Mohammed was keen on working but I understood that due to Covid jobs at that time were harder to find.

“Mohamed’s enthusiasm was contagious. As soon as I brought up the possibility of working in the railways, he couldn’t hide his joy at the opportunity. I am so proud that he is now qualified with a Sentinel card. “



Anne Brewster, Employer and Head of Partnerships for Scunthorpe Jobcentre Plus

Anne Brewster, Head of Employers and Partnerships for Scunthorpe Jobcentre Plus, said: “What another fantastic result for Mohammed, I understand he has now managed to find work.

“SWAPs are a great way to get up-to-date skills for current jobs available and the fact that they give a guaranteed interview or help with the application process gives people a much better chance of getting the positions.

“If you are looking for work and claiming benefits, ask your professional coach which SWAPs are available locally.

“The government’s employment plan has increased the number of SWAP places available and is seen as a great way to help in areas of skill shortage such as health and social services.

“You can find more information including eligibility and requirements on the gov.uk site . If you are an employer with a number of open positions and are interested in SWAPs, contact the Employer Engagement Team on 01724 274477. ”

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