From education to employment

Teaching assistant workforce boosted in mission to address West Midlands vacancies

Coventry’s teaching assistant workforce has received a major boost thanks to an initiative designed to fill key vacancies across the West Midlands.

Coventry College has helped 20 adult learners find interviews and secure teaching assistant roles in local schools thanks to a sector-based work academy programme (SWAP) in partnership with leading education recruitment agency Smile Education.

The SWAP is funded by West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and target areas are decided based on job vacancies highlighted by employers. Those taking part receive training tailored to the role and are provided with vital work experience and a guaranteed job interview.

In the most recent Coventry College Teaching Assistant SWAP cohort, the programme helped a group of five learners gain work experience at Baginton Fields School, which provides secondary education for pupils with special education needs, before having job interviews with Smile Education.

Participants gained Level 1 Working in Education qualifications via Coventry College as part of the programme, with 2pm finishes available to support learners with childcare commitments, as well as support around CV-writing, applications and interview preparation provided Coventry College’s Careers Service.

Emma Ingram, Head of Employer Engagement at Coventry College, said:

“Our TA SWAP has proved really popular and incredibly effective at helping adults find new careers in an industry they are passionate about.

“The goal is to be as flexible as possible as a lot of these candidates have children of their own, which can make transitioning to a new job extremely difficult.

“We are really pleased at the results working alongside Smile, as we have been able to place some fantastic candidates in interviews and roles at schools right across the city.”

Katy Rees, Managing Director at Smile Education, said:

“We are delighted to be supporting learners in returning back to work, helping to boost their confidence and skills along the way.

“Not only this, but we’re also proud to be placing more great candidates into the education sector, helping to tackle the staff shortage it is experiencing currently.”

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