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Award-winning Swatpro Academy goes from strength to strength


We look at some of the stories and people who’ve made the news for Swatpro and Swatpro Academy this year: including a major anniversary and a prestigious award.

Let’s be honest, for many of us, 2021 was a “difficult” year.

But when the going got tough, top-quality training, upskilling and getting the most out of their workforce helped hundreds of firms and enterprises to rise to the challenge.

In the South-West, no organisation and training network is better able to help you achieve these goals than Swatpro and Swatpro Academy.

Swatpro and its network of partner training organisations provide bespoke, responsive training packages for many employment sectors, including Accountancy, Animal Care & Welfare, Business Administration, Clinical Health (hospitals), Construction, Customer Service, Digital (Cyber Security & Network Infrastructure), Digital Marketing, Early Years Education, Engineering, Forklift Engineering, Health & Social Care, Hospitality and Catering, Information Technology, Leadership & Management, Outdoors, Leisure and Events, Retail.

Part of our brief is keeping across trends in training, changes in the legal framework, and tracking grants and other help available from the Government.

In January, we directed clients towards schemes unveiled by HM Treasury to aid lockdown-hit businesses, particularly in the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors: economic areas very important in this region of England.

In February, we shared with clients the roadmap to reopening and the (partial) normality we are currently enjoying. Among measures announced by the Government, was an extension of apprenticeship recruitment payments.

October brought a budget, further extending the £3,000 incentive for recruiting new apprentices, as well as extra help with other kinds of recruitment and training. The Treasury committed to continue financing 95% of apprentice training costs for non-Levy paying companies.

Swatpro can help client organisations apply for such help, directing clients to the most suitable schemes, cutting through jargon and handling the red-tape headaches – even helping with recruitment.

As a not-for-profit association ourselves, our goals are to give organisations who seek our help the best and clearest advice; we exist to increase the skillbase in the South-West and we take great pride in the long-term relationships we’ve established with most of our clients.

In June, we blogged how Swatpro advice can help SMEs to get funding for apprentice funding: how to register and create an account; how and when to claim funding; how to recruit apprentices.

August saw Swatpro’s 10th anniversary as an organisation.

Don’t think of us as newbies though! Within our 22 partner organisations, there are decade upon decade of experience at providing first-rate training solutions.

Our partners, and their trainer/assessors, are all sector specialists. Experts at giving each learner exactly the sort of skills employers want.

“The approach has been responsive to employers’ needs and addressing genuine skill shortages - the collaborative ethos which drives everything we do,” said Rod Davis, Swatpro’s Chief Executive.

The collaborative approach has been key to the success of BEMA, Swatpro’s engineering skills provider, based north of Bristol.

In September, BEMA’s centre manager Martin Wear, told us how demand was picking up as employers looked to take on new apprentices in the sector. With a 100% apprenticeship completion success rate, we are not surprised employers are knocking at his door!

Also, reacting to rising demand, Swatpro Academy’s newest Business Skills trainer/assessor Amy Fenegan was interviewed for a blog in November.

Amy told us how training was a passion for her and passed on her training top tip, which was to contextualise everything, so learners understand why they are being asked to adopt certain working practices.

In October, we reported on a major success for one of Swatpro Academy’s newest divisions.

Its Digital Academy, based in Plymouth, won the Comptia Apprenticeship Partner Newcomer Award.

Comptia, a global leader in IT, said the award recognised Swatpro Academy’s “Outstanding Commitment to Developing Tech Talent”.

Swatpro Academy staff are experienced and professional sector specialists in Hospitality, Catering, IT, Digital, Business Skills and Engineering. The Apprenticeship Standards they deliver have been developed with Employers and as such are relevant to the workplace, helping apprentices progress in their careers.

This year, we also celebrated some of the many learners who finished apprenticeships under Swatpro supervision and have climbed the career ladder as a result.

Learners like Ryan Brayshaw who landed his dream job in IT with Gray Matter of Ashburton, thanks to an apprenticeship supervised by Swatpro’s digital academy.

Graduate Marie Arroyo-Lopez’s business skills apprenticeship opened the doors to work at language and interpreting provider, Atlantic, in Plymouth.

In Bath, Lisa-Marie Byfield was able to take the step to team leader with care provider Abney & Baker, thanks to an adult care apprenticeship.

In Plymouth, Dan Tromans’ business skills apprenticeship left him a very happy (and busy) bunny, working as a Lettings Manager for Martin & Co.

Care worker Jane Cowley told us how she’d increased in confidence as well as skills, after undertaking an apprenticeship with Care Matters.

For Swatpro, Swatpro Academy and its partners and for the employers and learners we work with, 2021 has again proven the benefits of a responsive, collaborative approach to training. Here’s to the next 10 years!

Award-winning Swatpro Academy goes from strength to strength