Sep 20

Sector-based Work Academy Programme - the answer to your recruitment needs

Posted: 17 September 2020

Julie Abbott, Senior National Account Manager, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), explains why Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAP) could be the answer to the recruitment needs of adult social care employers.

On Wednesday 8 July, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a ‘plan to support, create and protect jobs’, building on the existing support offered by the Department of Work and Pensions.

Part of that plan is the expansion of SWAP – directed at priority sectors including social care. These will establish bespoke opportunities, working with employers and training providers to support people who are receiving Universal Credit to pivot into new careers and fill vacancies.

SWAP is designed to help meet employers’ immediate and future recruitment needs as well as to recruit a workforce with the right values and skills to sustain and grow their business. It works in conjunction with employers and ensures that candidates are prepared to work in adult social care at the end of the process.

The SWAP can last up to six weeks and has three main components:

  1. pre-employment training – relevant to the needs of the business and sector
  2. a work experience placement – of great benefit to both the individual and a business
  3. a guaranteed job interview.

Jane Prentice, Registered Manager at Medway Council, The People Care Team, says

Pre-employment programmes are almost like ‘free’ recruitment with no overheads. On top of that, we’re able to see first-hand how individuals perform in shadowing opportunities, including interaction with clients. 

These challenging times are driving innovation and DWP is currently developing “virtual” SWAPs to accommodate social distancing guidance. Community Integrated Care was one of the first care providers to use this model.  

Rachael Pritchard, Recruitment Coordinator for the North West, Community Integrated Care, says

We are delighted with the success of the course and particularly as this is for an area we have long struggled to recruit in, this has made it all the more impressive! 

Read more about the programme.

Get Involved

If you’d like to get involved, please email BST1.DELIVERYTEAM@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK. Please include where your services are based (post codes would be helpful) so that you can be connected to local support. 

Julie Abbott, Senior National Account Manager, Department for Work and Pensions.