Pre-employment programme a success in Lancaster and Morecambe

Fifteen people from the Lancaster and Morecambe area have completed a pre-employment programme which included a three-week placement at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI).

The learners, aged between the ages of 24 and 59, carried out a range of roles with Trust teams, including; administration assistant, clinical support worker, catering assistant, labs assistant, general office assistant, maintenance support worker and car park assistant. Three people from the programme are moving directly into employment with UHMBT and the remainder are in the process of completing applications for the Trust’s internal bank – allowing them to do shifts as and when required.

Pre-employment programmes are designed to help people who are unemployed to get into a job. The programmes work by ensuring there is a structure in place to help people learn the soft skills they need to be successful in interviews and the workplace.

The Better Care Together (BCT) Careers and Engagement Hub, which is hosted by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) but works across all of the Bay Health and Care Partners, worked with Inspira, Department for Work and Pensions, Jobcentre Plus, Lancashire County Council and Lancashire and Morecambe College to create this programme.

Vicky Lumley, Careers and Engagement Lead for BCT Careers and Engagement Hub, said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for local people who are trying to get back into work or get into employment, to grow in confidence, gain experience and see first-hand what an NHS career entails.”

Claire Benson, Marketing and Communications Manager for Inspira, added: “At Inspira, we work with employers to understand their staffing and skills shortages – these can be seasonal or long term. From there, we develop programmes which incorporates assessments, development of employability skills, regulated learning and work placements – which can lead to an actual role.

“We have run a number of similar pre-employment programmes with employers in West Cumbria. The Royal Lancaster Infirmary was the first to run with UHMBT, and a second has now started at Furness General Hospital.”

Following their work placement, each participant was provided with a written reference from their placement at UHMBT, careers support and advice on their job applications.

Elizabeth Samuels, 57, of Lancaster, who was on placement as a Clinical Support Worker, said: “The programme is really good because it takes the fear out of things. We have all bonded really well as a team and we have helped each other through the programme. Everyone has been so friendly and even the interview wasn’t scary because everyone was so welcoming that it really helped me to talk about the skills that I have and the things that I can do. The programme has been so empowering; it really has made me feel more confident.”

Matthew White, 25, of Morecambe, who carried out a role as Car Park Assistant, said: “I love the NHS. I was a bricklayer before 2015 and then I had a motorcycle accident and the NHS looked after me for two months. Because of my accident, I have been out of work but I really like to push myself and see what I can do despite my disability. I love a good challenge and I am really excited to start on my placement in the Car Parking department. I am really keen to get working in the NHS and I would like to see how far I can go, learning new skills and adding more qualifications.”

Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive, UHMBT, said: “It’s marvellous to see so many local people interested in a career with the NHS and being able to offer them a placement at the Trust. We hope they have gained some valuable experience which they will take with them as they progress on to their employment with the Trust or their alternative careers.”

Written by UHMBT & Inspira.