A range of CWM college provision is targeted specifically at supporting residents into employment or to progress in employment. This is new provision, introduced over the past two or three years in response to local need. This ‘For Employment’ provision is reported here separately. 

Sector Based Work Academies (SWAPs), Sector Gateways (SG), Construction Gateways (CG) are funded through the Adult Education Budget and are a sub-section of the Adult Skills numbers. Free Courses for Jobs (FCfJ) are funded through a separate strand of DfE funding. 

In 2021/22, across these four types of provision, there was a total of 7,849 enrolments for 4,480 learners. 

The sectors for which colleges had the greatest number of ‘For Employment’ enrolments in 2021/22 across one or more types of provision were: 

Growth in learners on For Employment provision has been strong since 2020/21 


SWAPs were introduced in 2019/20 to provide short, focused training for people wishing to enter work. They work on the basis of a partnership between the college, the employer and the DWP team working with unemployed residents. Over the past two years, the 17 colleges saw a growth rate of over 1000% in SWAP starts to 1,711 in 2021/22. All but 9 of SWAP learners resided in the WMCA area. 

The majority of SWAPs are at Level 2 and most learners undertake a Preparation for Life and Work element of learning as part of their programme. 

The top sectors where SWAP provision is used are Business, Engineering, Retail/Warehousing, and Public Services. 

In 2021/22 44% of SWAP learners resided in the Birmingham LA, followed by 53% across the Black Country LAs.  

Construction Gateway 

In 2021/22, the second year of the Construction Gateway programme, 1,069 learners participated which represented a growth of 47% on the first year of Construction Gateway. 

Over half of the learners resided in Birmingham. 

Sector Gateway 

In 2021/22, the second year of Sector Gateway short programmes, enrolments totalled 565, a 495% increase on the first year of the programme. 

57% were resident in Birmingham. 

The majority of SG programmes, where recorded, are at Level 1 and Level 2. 

Sector Gateway learners had learning aims aligned to more than one sector area. The most prominent employment sectors were Public Services, Health, Nursing and Social Care and Business Administration. 

Free Courses for Jobs 

Free Courses for Jobs funding was introduced nationally in 2020/21 to provide short programmes at Level 3.  

Between 2020/21 and 2021/22 the number of learners accessing the funding increased by 356% to 1,135.  

 The year-on-year growth was slightly higher within the WMCA local authorities with the greatest growth in the Black Country, notably Dudley.  

More than half of FCfJ learners in 2021/22 were studying for the Health and Care industry.  


The profile of learners on For Employment provision differs according to the scheme. The benchmark for the comparison by aspect of inclusion is the profile of all AEB funded learners. 

The gender profile of learners on Free Courses for Jobs matches the AEB profile with 64% female and 36% male. 

In contrast the learners on SWAPs and Sector Gateway provision are 68% male and 32% female. 

Those on Construction Gateway are 95% male.  

Just over half (53%) of all adult learners at CWM colleges on AEB funded learning identify as White, with 18.1% identifying as Asian and 15% as Black. 

The proportion of White learners on Free Courses for Jobs provision is greatest at 65%, with corresponding lower participation by those in other ethnic groups. 

There is greater ethnic diversity in participation in SWAPs, Sector Gateway and Construction Gateway provision  

32% of all AEB funded learners are resident in the areas of greatest deprivation. Apart from Free Courses for Jobs funded provision where 26.5% live in the most deprived areas, all other For Employment provision has attracted a higher proportion of learners in these most deprived areas and a lower proportion in the least deprived areas. 

14.5% of adults on all AEB funded provision have declared a disability, learning difficulty or health problem. This proportion is broadly reflected in the For Employment provision with the exception of Construction Gateway where this proportion is 7.8%.