THE apprenticeship and training specialist of East Sussex College has launched a new Sector Based Work Academy with Govia Thameslink Railway.

This Sector Based Work Academy is a collaborative project that will offer people, who aren’t in employment, training or education, the opportunity to develop their skills, gain employability qualifications, and, for two successful candidates, a full-time job in the railway industry.

The project launched with a free four-week training programme on Monday 2nd November, and enrolled candidates via local job centres. The course will equip the students with skills in customer service, equality and diversity, and health and safety, as well as two days virtual work experience.

On completing the course, each student will be presented with a qualification in Employability, a Level 2 certificate in Equality & Diversity, and a bespoke Southern Rail training certificate on managing customer relations. They will also have a guaranteed interview with Southern for two available Gateline roles at stations between Littlehampton and Hove.

All of the candidates were able to benefit from face-to-face teaching for the first three days. From Thursday 5th November, in line with the national lockdown, the course moved to blended virtual learning with online lectures and one-to-one support from assessors.

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 rapidly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re proud to be partnering with Sussex Skills Solutions on the creation of our first-ever Sector Based Work Academy.

“We want to offer those who are unemployed, the opportunity to gain valuable employability skills with a dedicated programme, which also leads to the offer of permanent positions with Southern. We’re excited to be launching the Sector Based Work Academy, which is 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 Rail on this exciting new Sector Based Work Academy. 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 up and running, marketing the offer to their customer, and supporting us throughout the application process.”

Keep up to date with the programme by following the Sussex Skills Solutions and the Southern social media accounts:

@skillssolutionssussex @SussexSkills

@SouthernRailUK @southernrailuk @southernrailuk