Mariangela Hankinson and Julie Quinn from the DWP NW Group Partnership Team
Step into Work – DWP opening up NHS jobs
Set ourselves the challenge of working with every North West Trust (NWT) to open up NHS opportunities/vacancies to NW claimants. This resulted in piloting a new approach, in partnership with Health Education England (HEE) and the NHS; initial pilot achieved 11 claimants into work with Mersey Care before rolling out to 36 of the 38 NW Trusts.
Quote from Mersey Care:
"The cohort were the best example of untapped potential and passion we know exists within people. They just need the opportunity and support and you and your team have done a tremendous job in creating this and making it happen’…it is an absolute pleasure and privilege to work with you on programmes that quite literally change people lives".
Previously recruitment processes excluded our claimants, particularly those lacking qualifications. All NWTs operate independently; varying structures, difficult to engage with consistently. We recognised opportunities for our claimants and workforce challenges of the NHS and designed a programme to address both needs.
Initially worked with HEE identifying common ground, promoting Jobcentre offer and influencing NWTs agenda. Although there were some small pockets of JCP/NHS engagement there was no overall approach. Working with HEE we pulled NWTs together to design a programme that incorporated:
•Level 1 qualification
•Work placement with a mentor
•Can be replicated across NW and nationally
Feedback confirmed successful candidates would not have succeeded via the normal NHS application route.
Evaluation followed; Trust and candidate’s insight applied to final product - named ‘Step into Work’. Subsequently met all NWTs with HEE, to secure their buy-in to develop an additional, alternative programme for those who fit a different criteria thus opening up opportunities to those most disadvantaged, with a longer journey to employment. Both NW programmes scalable for national expansion.