Light at the end of the tunnel

Liz Faulkner

07 / 3 / 2016 1.45pm

In her third blog Liz Faulkner, workforce transformation manager at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust tells us how her team has started to see real progress with its work experience programme transformation. 

Since my last blog I've really started to notice how much has already changed in the work experience process and what is ready to be implemented. You will recall (from my previous blog) that our team has taken responsibility for work experience programmes in the trust.

This month we have been: 

  • finalising the new draft organisational policy and will be sending this out to managers for review and feedback
  • working with managers within our trust and neighbouring Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust to host eight pre-employment placements in conjunction with the Prince’s Trust
  • putting plans in place for Talent for Care month.

Our focus at the moment is reviewing the work experience policy. As part of this we've recently implemented a new streamlined work experience form. We've moved away from the paper based form and bought ourselves into the 21st century with a new electronic version (‘hooray!’ shout our work experience candidates, line managers and work experience team). 

The new form is really simple, and will make the work experience process easier and quicker for all. Candidates now fill out a tick box section to specify which role and sites they can work in, which is a change from the previous form. This will reduce the amount of work experience requests for roles and locations which are not available at our trust, for example roles in midwifery. Because the form is now electronic, the team doesn't have to process each of the requests manually. 

Even more excitingly, we’ll now be able to update our work experience database far more promptly and efficiently as we can simply cut and paste information across to it for monitoring. This database will ensure that we’re able to evaluate the work experience programme and show key data, such as how representative of the community we are. 

Our team apprentice streamlined this part of the process and has done an excellent job with it. We hold our hands up and admit that her IT skills are better than ours, so it made sense to really let her run with updating this form, and utilise her skills.  

We are also exploring the potential removal of daily written diary from work experience candidates, and the option to provide candidate evaluation forms. I'm not sure how much value there is to candidates keeping a daily diary, so this needs to be further reviewed to determine whether this is something that we keep or remove. We are going to update the evaluation form though and ask candidates to fill in an online survey using SurveyMonkey instead. This will be more accessible and easier to evaluate.

In the next few months we will review and re-draft the full work experience policy before sending to a wider audience. We’re also working with managers to host eight pre-employment placements in conjunction with the Prince’s Trust and our local acute trust. The placements are in hard to fill health and social care roles. We’re already working with managers to identify apprenticeship and entry level roles that would give further opportunities to young people after they have completed their pre-employment placement. This is something that we don’t currently offer and need to change, particularly with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy. We want to show that this non-traditional route into the NHS is a useful one which can lead to further opportunities.  

Finally, we are also continuing to promote the opportunities available to young people. This month, we’re promoting a Talent for Care month where we’ll be highlighting our work experience opportunities in schools, colleges and the local community. We will also be promoting the benefits and busting some of the myths around work experience. We’ll be working closely with our communications team to achieve this and will aim to inform staff and the public about what we offer.

We are doing a lot, aren't we? Watch out for my final blog to see how Talent for Care month went, along with our further policy update. We’re already seeing a more coordinated approach to work experience - I'm confident that it won’t be long until the process is watertight. 

Liz will be writing a final blog on the trust’s progress at the end of March. If you would like to share your organisation’s story of working towards bringing more young people into your organisation, contact the ThinkFuture team at

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