We use cookies.

To make your experience the best it can be, we use cookies and similar technologies on our site. We need your permission to allow these technologies, which will maximise browsing experience. For more information on how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings, please see our cookies and privacy policy.



Please complete this short form to get in touch with a member of our team and we will get back to you as soon as we can.



Sign up to our newsletter by completing the form below.

Header image for the current page Supporting jobseekers into the NHS

Supporting jobseekers into the NHS

Share this page

By Carla Smith, Apprenticeship and Career Development Manager at Arden & GEM

“When people ask me what I do, it's always a bit tricky to explain because my role is complex and wide-ranging. But let me tell you about one small element of my work (which takes around two hours each month) that has truly made a difference.

I'm a part of a government initiative called SWAPs, which stands for the sector-based work academy programme.

SWAPs is an opportunity for those receiving unemployment benefits to learn new skills and get experience of working in a particular industry through training and work experience. In the NHS this could include roles such as IT, Business Intelligence, Procurement, Finance, or a whole host of other back-office functions. Candidates join SWAPs as a support network to gaining employment.

Imagine being unemployed but having a burning desire to contribute to the amazing work done by the National Health Service. That’s where SWAPs steps in, providing the necessary support and opportunities to those who want to be a part of this incredible sector. There are professionals made redundant from one sector of the NHS but employable by another. There are some that require life coaching before they enter any workplace journey.

Now, you might wonder what that means at a practical level? Well, for me, it means I get to support the creation of a brand-new NHS workforce and apprenticeships are just one entry route into the NHS workforce via the sector-based work academy programme. Apprenticeships offer routes into many of the 300+ NHS careers through a mix of on-the-job training and classroom learning from GCSE to master’s degree level.

It's fulfilling work, knowing that I'm helping individuals, some from under-represented or disadvantaged (in some way) communities, find their place in the NHS and supporting the growth of our healthcare workforce. So, if you ever find yourself curious about what I do, just remember that I'm here to make a positive impact and create opportunities for those who are eager to be a part of the NHS family.”

You can find out more about Apprenticeships at Arden & GEM here or get in touch with our Apprenticeship programme by emailing agem.apprenticeships@nhs.net

Picture of Carla Smith

Author: Carla Smith |

Carla is a highly skilled and qualified organisational development and career development professional, with significant experience in health and wellbeing. Carla supports Arden & GEM to recruit new apprentices and upskill existing staff through the Apprenticeship programme, as part of a wide-ranging Learning and Development offer. With training in PRINCE 2, Lean, MSP and change management, Carla can draw upon a range of methodologies to match the needs of each project. Over the past few years, Carla has successfully steered the CSU to achieve a number of awards and standards including Investors in People gold accreditation and Disability Confident Leader status.