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Sector-based work academy programme (SWAPs)

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SWAPs give you an opportunity to learn new skills and get experience of working in a particular industry, for example, care, construction or warehouse work. At the end of the programme you’ll often get an interview with an employer.

The offer:

  • On a SWAP you get
    • pre-employment training – a short module of vocational training run by a local college or training provider
    • work experience with an employer, where you can learn new skills on the job
    • at the end of the programme, either a job interview with an employer in the sector or if an interview cannot be offered, help with the application process

Available to:

  • Jobseekers claiming either Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in England and Scotland
  • SWAPs are one of the returnership opportunities also open to people aged 50 plus in England. Returnerships bring together training, skills, and support opportunities for people over 50 and looking to return to work

Time and course type:

  • SWAPs last up to 6 weeks
  • Courses can be classroom-based, on-the-job, online or a mix


  • Free and you will continue to receive benefits whilst taking part in a SWAP
  • 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.

Further information:

Find out more about SWAPs (external website). You can also discuss SWAPs with your Work Coach.

Find out about skills and work in Scotland (external website) and Wales (external website).

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