Try a SWAP Placement


Try a SWAP Placement


The sector-based work academy programme (or SWAPs) is a great way to create a skilled workforce for your business by offering a work experience placement to those aged 18+ and receiving unemployment benefits.

SWAPs are administered by Job Centre Plus and last up to 6 weeks. The placements are designed to help meet your immediate and future recruitment needs by combing pre-employment training matched to the needs of your business sector.

They are completely free for employers and a great way to recruit staff who’ve had some introductory training and reduce the risks associated with hiring someone who’s not done the job before.


How do SWAPs work?


There are 3 components to a SWAP placement


  • Pre-Employment Training – this is designed to ensure that the people looking for work have the skills they need to succeed. SWAPs are funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and delivered by further education colleges and training providers. This means that the training that’s delivered allows participants to receive recognised qualifications on the QCF framework. Jobcentre Plus will work with you to design the most relevant training package that supports your recruitment needs and match you to a local training provider.


  • A work experience placement – this enables participants to develop their skills in a realistic working environment. You’ll discuss the length of the placement at the initial discussion stage and it can be combined with the pre-employment training if that’s easier. The placement needs to be high quality, include an overview of your business and values, guidance on health and safety and a tour of the workplace. You should treat participants like regular employees as far as possible and provide an opportunity for them to gain a practical understanding of what the job will entail.


  • A guaranteed job interview – this gives participants valuable interview experience and allows you to select the most appropriate person for the job. Participants can be interviewed alongside your usual recruitment process or you might want to consider offering an apprenticeship instead to build upon their training.



Benefits of SWAPs


SWAPs are a great way to recruit staff with the right training and skills for your business, developed through bespoke and fully-funded pre-employment training. There’s no cost to you, as participants remain on benefits during the placement and their expenses are covered by the government scheme, and you reduce the risks associated with hiring new staff.

They can provide a great development opportunity for existing staff to mentor, coach and supervise new hires, as well as showing how like-minded businesses are working together to meet their social responsibilities.


Where to get further information

If you are interested in offering a sector-based work academy, or would like further information about the services available to support your recruitment needs, please contact the Employer Services Line on 0800 169 0178. They can offer advice and will be able to put you in touch with a local Jobcentre Plus employer team.


More Employers posts