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What is a SWAP?

Sector-based work academy programme (SWAPs) is an opportunity to learn new skills and get experience of working in a particular industry, for example care, construction or warehouse work.


The programme is designed to help jobseekers, who are claiming either Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), to build confidence, improve job prospects and enhance CVs.

SWAPs last up to six weeks, and consist of three parts:

  • Pre-Employment Training course to equip you with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours to get an ‘entry-level’ role in a specific area of work.
  • Short work experience placement with a local employer to help you understand what it is like to work in a specific job role.
  • at the end of the programme, you will have the opportunity to have a real-life interview for a job in the sector you have trained for.


If I do the course, will it affect my benefits claim?

Participants will continue to receive benefits whilst taking part in a SWAP, and if you need to travel to the employer’s place of work or to where the training is held, you may be able to receive help covering the cost of public transport or appropriate childcare.

The programme is designed to help improve job prospects, help employers fill jobs, as each SWAP is linked to one or more genuine job vacancy. While you’re not guaranteed to get a job from completing a SWAP, it does help you to improve your chances of gaining employment in that sector.


We offer SWAPs in work sectors where there are lots of local job vacancies, for example; Adult Care, Mental Health Support Services, Health Care Support, Construction, Customer Service and Sales. However, the number and range of our programmes are always growing as employers keep coming to us with job vacancies, they need filling right now.


Please see below information about forthcoming programmes which you can apply for today!


How does it work?

You start on an NHS Shift Work 3-week programme and will help you understand the role of a healthcare support worker and gain skills in first aid, food hygiene, customer service and employability skills.

What will you get?

DBS paid for by Employer

Uniform provided by Employer

Guaranteed interview on completion of Course

Character reference from Course Tutor



Course Start Date: 18th September

Venue: Sandwell & West Birmingham NHS Trust.

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