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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Southwark College are piloting a new Civil Service Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) in the Borough, one of four providers in the South London District to support local people into work within the Civil Service.  

From July to September 2020 there were 1.62 million people unemployed in the UK. The new programme is just one of a number of initiatives from the DWP and Southwark College that are being offered to the local community to help get people in the borough into work. 

The programme, which took its first cohort of job seekers in 2020, supports local people to apply and be recruited as Work Coaches or other positions within the Civil Service through sessions with job mentors and courses. These will help them to prepare for and secure interviews for roles within the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). 

Annette Cast, Principal at Southwark College, said:“We are proud to be part of this initiative to increase aspirations in our local community. It has paved the way for other job seekers and demonstrates that it is still possible to achieve your ambitions even in these challenging times.” 

The programme takes job seekers through the application process and supports them through the stages of recruitment, such as creating a Civil Service jobs account, searching for vacancies, understanding the job description, introducing and practicing virtual questions and taking a variety of tests. Job seekers can also complete practice tests, mock interviews and familiarise themselves with application tools. 

Mims Davies MPMinister for Employment, said:“I am delighted our partnership with Southwark College has already seen 20 local jobseekers secure new permanent roles joining the DWP team. It is playing a vital part in getting Britain working again as we move into recovery. 

“SWAPs have supported over 40,000 people across the country to retrain and upskill to pivot into new industries and sectors since April 2020, with our Plan for Jobs continuing to create and level up opportunity as we build back stronger.” 

Meg McClure, was one of the first participants on the programme, joining in 2020 to support her job search to secure a role within the Civil Service. 

Meg McClure said: “I would highly recommend the programme to others. It has added so much value to my job search and helped me to regain my confidence after I was made redundant due to the pandemic. It was also a great way of meeting like-minded people who are in a similar position as we all collaborated to help one another.” 

Southwark College offers a range of free employability courses that enable students to gain new skills and prepare for employment

Find out more about our courses for jobseekers at southwark.ac.uk/free-courses-for-job-seekers.

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