Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust delivers work experience in partnership with Jobcentre Plus


31 / 01 / 2013

Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust employs over 4,000 staff in Broomfield Hospital and like many trusts understands the benefits of involving the community to undertake voluntary work in their organisation. So, when they were approached by Jobcentre Plus (JCP) back in 2011, with a proposal to work with them to provide work experience to help young unemployed people aged 18-24 gain skills in the workplace, this caught the interest of Jonathan Wright, Voluntary Services/Patient Experience Manager, and the beginnings of a great partnership began.

What we did

Jonathan works closely with Cris Green, Employer Adviser from Chelmsford JCP, to understand the variety of placements on offer and ensure that young people (including those from the most disadvantaged groups) are considered on their merits for the opportunities available within the trust. Cris supports Jonathan in promoting the placements to unemployed candidates, arranging interviews and other recruitment administrative support where needed, including finding candidates for the Princes Trust 'Get into NHS' programmes. The scheme operates on a roll on roll off basis, with the trust providing JCP with details of current placements and JCP providing CVs to match.

Benefits to the Trust

Since June 2011, 46 young people have had the opportunity to undertake eight weeks of 'real' work experience in various roles on the wards, in Pharmacy, and in Administrative Support. As a direct result of this programme, 14 candidates that have successfully completed work experience placements have secured permanent employment within the trust.

Work experience has contributed to the corporate social responsibility agenda of the trust by helping young people in the community gain the skills and experience needed in the workplace. Furthermore, this programme has given the trust the opportunity to observe potential employees in a real work setting and enabled them to identify those individuals that are most suited to working for their organisation.

Jonathan Wright ,Voluntary Services/Patient Experience Manager, Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, commented:

“Working with the Jobcentre on the work experience programme has not only helped us provide a wide range of work experience to young people to help them become more marketable to other employers, but has also greatly benefited our trust in recruiting some excellent candidates, some of which we may have missed out on if it wasn’t for working with Cris from the Jobcentre”.

Real life example

Jak Natrass was interviewed by Jonathan for a Receptionist post within the human resources department. Jak had very little experience in either of these areas but Jonathan liked his enthusiasm and decided to give him a chance by granting him an eight week placement within the department.

Jak’s polite and professional manner soon impressed everyone in the department and it wasn’t long before they started delegating more tasks to him, mainly connected to the recruitment of new staff.

They could see that Jak himself would certainly be an asset to the team but unfortunately at that time there were no vacancies within the department. Jonathan suggested that before Jak left his placement he joined the bank staff register. A post soon became available in the department and Jak was selected to apply. On the basis of Jak's relevant experience he was offered a three month fixed-term contract as a Recruitment Advisor, which has now been extended, and Jak continues to work as a valued member of staff within the trust.

Furthermore, via partnership working with JCP, Fiona, a new work experience candidate, was found to replace Jak and she now too is employed by the trust within the same department.

Jak commented: 

“Work experience is the best thing that has happened to me. Without this opportunity, I wouldn’t have gained the skills and experience to apply for a paid job with the trust and I’m now in a job that I love and with an organisation where I can develop my career.”

More Information

The following link provides more information on work experience.

Contact Details

Jonathan Wright, Voluntary Services/Patient Experience Manager, Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust  Jonathan.Wright@meht.nhs.uk

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