A Walsall programme to support jobseekers to find roles in healthcare has helped 139 people into work – with one new recruit declaring it “a life changer.”
The Work4Health programme was developed by whg to help residents secure roles as Healthcare Assistants at Walsall Manor Hospital.
Created in partnership with Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Walsall College and the Department for Work and Pensions, the programme aims to overcome the barriers and obstacles felt by many jobseekers when looking for work.
Designed specifically around jobs available within the Trust, it combines skills training, work experience, application form support, mock interview practice and a guaranteed job interview for roles at the hospital. The programme has been hugely successful, supporting 139 people into work.
Former childminder Sylwia Staniszek, 46, is a Clinical Support Worker on Ward 29 and the Emergency Department (ED) at Walsall Manor Hospital after completing the programme.
“When the pandemic started I had to shut down my nursery and started doing lots of voluntary jobs for the NHS. I found out I would love to work for the NHS,” said Sylwia, who started at the Trust in January 2022.
“The course helped me prepare for interview and showed me how to fill out all the paperwork for the job application. It was very helpful.
“Everything has changed in my life now. I have new skills – I am a Phlebotomist as well. I have learnt a lot and love working with patients.
“I’m helping my patients every day to wash, helping them with their food and drink, taking observations and their bloods. All this I’ve learned at the Manor Hospital.
“Before I started this job, I had no idea about working in healthcare or how the job would look. But every single person, from the staff to the patients, is like my big family and it’s really nice.
“When I came to the UK from Poland 15 years ago, I never dreamt of this. It’s been a great opportunity for me and I’m so grateful to have found this programme.
“It’s also life-changing in that working for the NHS makes you more kind and caring and a better person. I’d like to see more local people involved too – it’s not just for people from overseas and I’ve now got two friends who work for the Trust too as a result of me recommending it to them.”
Sylwia, who lives in Brownhills after coming to the UK from Warsaw, loves her job so much that she now supplements her role with extra shifts in ED.
“You have to learn to work fast in ED – you might be involved in a cardiac arrest or other emergency situation – so the contact with the patient is more intense,” added Sylwia. “There are lots of ECGs to be taken and bloods and I love it – a CSW is the key point of the hospital.”
She has made her life here, along with her daughter, 26, a Lidl store manager, and two grandchildren, who all live in nearby Cannock.
Thanks to its success, whg has launched a similar scheme for local people hoping to work in the care sector. The three-week Care2Care Programme aims to help people develop a basic knowledge of working in the care sector.
Participants develop a basic knowledge of working in care and develop the skills to support their application process.
Marsha Belle, Associate Director of People – Organisational Development and Culture at Walsall Healthcare, said: “Following the initial pilot, the programme was further developed with whg.
“This was primarily to support residents who had been adversely affected by job losses as a result of the pandemic and the closure of many retail and leisure businesses in the area.
“We at Walsall Healthcare are so proud to be part of something that has had such a positive impact on those who showed an interest and now work within the Trust, the patients they care for and the local community.
“It’s great to see this initiative has encouraged further programmes that build on the learning and good practice of the original programme, set up three years ago.
“We aim to continue to grow the programme within Walsall Healthcare to include roles within Estates and Facilities and other entry roles across the Trust.”