Sector-Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAP)

A Sector-based work academy programme or SWAP is a collaboration between a training providerlocal Jobcentres and an employer.

The programme can support employers to create a skilled workforce for their business. It is designed to help prepare those receiving unemployment benefits to apply for jobs in a different area of work.  Placements are designed to help meet employers immediate and future recruitment needs, as well as to recruit a workforce with the right skills to sustain and grow their business. SWAP is administered by Jobcentre Plus and available in England and Scotland.

How it works?

Each sector-based work academy offers a flexible approach and can be adapted to meet the needs of business.  By liaising with employers, the college agrees to deliver specific training programmes which often include employability skills together with more specific opportunities such as Food Safety for Manufacturing, CSCS or possibly Health and Safety aimed at a construction environment, plus many other options.

Employers tell us what vacancies they have and how many people they are looking for and will give us a job description which outlines the knowledge and skills they are looking for.  They will also agree to offer the opportunity for some unpaid work experience and an interview at the end of the programme.

Local Jobcentres refer suitable candidates to us, we screen them to determine their suitability for the job role, and then carry out an initial assessment of their skills, covering English, maths and ICT.   SWAPs can last up to six weeks but typically range in duration from 1 week to 4 weeks.

We also promote our SWAPs to other community organisations local to the College to ensure the greatest number of people find out about opportunities and can take advantage of them – the more suitable candidates we can put forward to employers, the better the chances of successfully helping employers fill their job vacancies with local people.

Who is it for?

SWAPs are particularly useful for young people but are open to all jobseekers aged 18 and above, to improve skills and enhance confidence and experience.  Candidates remain on benefits whilst on a SWAP.

The government will pay any travel and childcare costs whilst benefit claimants are on the programme and there is no direct cost to an employer for running a sector-based work academy as training and administration costs are covered by government funding.

What will the candidate do?

  • attend an initial assessment for English, math and ICT
  • carry out agreed training and attend all training sessions and participate in all activities
  • participate in a work placement when it is offered
  • attend an interview with the employer following completion of a training programme

Benefits for employers

  • SWAPs offer a flexible programme that can be tailored to meet your recruitment needs
  • recruit staff with the right training and skills from the outset, developed through fully-funded pre-employment training
  • an opportunity to provide work experience placements for potential employees to ensure they are suited to your type of role and your company
  • reduces the risks within the overall process of recruiting new employees
  • an opportunity to show how like-minded businesses are working together to meet their social responsibilities

Benefits for trainees/ candidates

  • develop the right skills to help improve your chances of gaining employment
  • get valuable work experience and build a CV
  • improve your confidence, experience and motivation
  • gain interview experience after completing your programme

How do you get involved as an employer?

  • Contact us to discuss how a sector-based work academy would benefit your company. We will help you to liaise with the Jobcentre plus employer team
  • Agree to a work experience placement for candidates - the placements are free.
  • Carry out an interview for a job opportunity for each candidate on the programme