Two West Midlands organisations behind an award-winning jobs and skills partnership have marked eight years of their successful link-up.

Since 2016, Sigma Connected and Birmingham’s BMet College have provided development and career opportunities for over 800 unemployed people through the launch of a Sector-based Work Academy programme.

The partnership, which is part-funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and West Midlands Combined Authority, is part of Sigma Connected’s commitment to Impact Sourcing, an initiative which creates job opportunities for those from often disadvantaged areas, or those struggling to find work having been unemployed for a period of time.

Scott Evans, HR Director at Sigma Connected said: “Over the past eight years we’ve formed a great partnership with BMet and are extremely proud that together we’ve helped improve the lives of over 800 people in the West Midlands. In 2023 alone we employed 100 people through the programme.

“We have built a strong partnership with BMet and they understand perfectly the type of people we need, who will fit within our culture, and who can deliver the Sigma Connected difference. The programme really does set these individuals up for success and changes lives for the better.”

“The Impact Sourcing model is something we believe the BPO industry can embrace to make a difference not only as it helps people who need it most, but it’s also helping change perceptions of contact centre work as a viable, long-term career.

Paul McCalla, Business Development Manager from BMet added: “Our Sector Based Work Academy with Sigma Connected is one of the best in the UK and our partnership simply goes from strength-to-strength. It has snowballed positively due to the increase in employees they need as the business grows.

“Many businesses are delivering Work Academies but our success with Sigma Connected is down to consistency and longevity. People aren’t just completing a four-week programme and walking away with a qualification at the end of it, they are learning and gaining new life-skills, such as negotiating and interacting with customers and interview techniques. Most importantly, they are being placed into actual jobs with long term prospects. That’s really different.”

In 2023, Sigma Connected won the Best Large Employer Award at the 2023 West Midlands Adult Learning Awards, a scheme backed by the West Midlands Combined Authority. The BMet partnership was a crucial part of the recognition and in 2018, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Mike Harfield, was awarded a BMet Fellowship in recognition for his personal and professional support for the partnership.

For more information on the Sigma Connected Group and its services, readers can visit the company’s website through www.sigmaconnected.com.

The BMet website is available through www.bmet.ac.uk/