Real life work-experience helps Barrow people into employment

So far five Barrow people have found employment as a result of participating in a pre-employment programme with the NHS run in-conjunction with Inspira, Furness College and Jobcentre Plus in Barrow.

Allan Porter said, "The Programme has built my team work skills which has improved my confidence. When I first came to Inspira my confidence was very low and I am now delighted to have just been offered a new role with the NHS as a Domestic”.

Of the five people, two have roles within the NHS and three have been employed by other organisations in the health care sector.

This was the second programme to run for the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay (UHMB) Trust, the pilot being in Lancaster.

The programme consists of three components – employability skills, accredited college course, work placement – and then opportunities to apply for live vacancies.

Around 50 people attended the open day at the Inspira Centre in Barrow on the 13th of March, eligible attendees were signed up to the National Careers Service, while all the interested participants were enrolled onto The Key for the employability skills component.

Through a supported application process which included a session looking at the NHS as an employer, the roles available and opportunities within the organisation for progression and development, eighteen people were then offered a place.

Inspira ran the employability skills section of the programme, which included creating a stand out CV and cover letter, tailoring applications where clients learned the importance of matching the job and person specifications against their skills and qualities, and how to win at interviews which involved preparation for different kinds of interviews and employer-led interview experience, this was supported by local employers including BAE, Lakeland Care and Johnston Recruitment.

"Using social media including Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin for professional networking and job search opportunities and creating a positive digital footprint were an important part of the programme," said Lisa Thomason, Inspira Adviser.

The Inspira component also included a personal development day, a session on learning to learn which focused on how to get the most out of the college-based learning with practical strategies to support different learning styles and needs as well as a session on making the most of a work placement which looked at personal branding, networking and building positive relationships, NHS ethos and values.

"It was an amazing experience," said Katy Fitzpatrick, who applied for work experience as a clinical support worker on the maternity unit. "Inspira were very helpful with the application process and understanding what is required in terms of presentation and the world of work. While the college experience was great too – especially as we were able to gain two Level 2 qualifications. We have learnt so much, and I feel my confidence and belief in myself has grown."

Following the employabilty skills section, the participants attended Furness College for two weeks where they gained Level 2 qualifications in Infection Control and Safeguarding and Dignity.

The roles at Furness General range from ward clarks, clinical support workers to parking assistants.

"This programme with UHMB Trust is exciting because it offers real life work experience with the potential to be offered a position at the end of the programme," said Claire Benson, Marketing and Communications Manager for Inspira. "The next programme to run will be September in Kendal, and already the Jobcentre Plus has agreed to a number of digital sessions over the summer to keep the potential participants warm."