LIFE CHANGING SUPPORT FROM THE NHS TO STEP INTO WORK
The NHS in north Cumbria has helped five individuals who were unemployed to get the training and experience they needed to get back into work.
North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) ran the Step into Work programme to recruit health care assistants to work at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle. The programme aims to help individuals get back into work by building their confidence through interaction with employers.
The six week programme, which began in November, included three weeks of training, such as team building and interview preparation, and three weeks of placements in the hospital. The recruits were all supported to prepare for the workplace and work towards their care certificate – an agreed set of standards that sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours expected of specific job roles in health and social care.
Since completing the programme they have successfully applied for bank health care assistant positions and are now regularly working for the trust.
Eunice Njeri, one of those who completed the programme, shared her story:
“When I came into the UK I tried getting what I considered a ‘proper job’ but I struggled a lot because I didn’t have any experience. I managed to get a few jobs here and there but nothing promising. I was very pleased to be accepted onto the programme and the best thing was it was only six weeks with a guaranteed job interview if you finished.
“During the last two weeks of the programme I did my placement with the Heart Centre and it was amazing. I really didn’t know what to expect since it was my first time working in a hospital but the health care assistants and staff nurses made me feel really comfortable and it was a great experience.
“After I completed the programme I had a successful interview and I’m now working as a health care assistant. I work on the bank and as a mum of a one year old this is the best option for me because it’s flexible. It is an opportunity of a lifetime for me. I have learned a lot and although I know there is still a lot to learn I am absolutely loving my new job.
“The step into work programme has really helped me in so many ways. I challenged myself and I have grown so much, I feel more confident about myself and really do want to become a nurse in the future, I have been given a very promising opportunity to have a good career within the NHS. I will continue with any training that comes along and see what I need to study to become a registered nurse.”
This is the second Step into Work Programme that the Trust has run and the third will begin in March at West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven.
James Manser, Learning Facilitator at NCUH, added:
“The step into work programme is a great way of helping people not only get back into work, but to realise their potential and build a career. It is helping us to grow our own workforce too. Ten people are now employed by the Trust through the programme and working many shifts on the wards, with some contemplating the nurse apprenticeships in the future.”