Supporting in-work progression

Supporting staff to progress in their careers, achieve their potential and earn more can be transformational and support with increasing living costs.

4 April 2023

Supporting employees and the local community has a huge impact on the local economy. Boosting the local economy can provide financial benefits to your current staff. This in turn will increase living standards, improve health and provide more income to spend in local community.

The NHS is very reliant on international recruitment. Recent National Midwifery Council (NMC) figures show that over 11,000 international staff were recruited between April and September 2022. Having a diverse workforce is very welcomed as having diverse teams has been showed to deliver better patient care.

It is also important to look at the different routes into your organisation and the levels at which people can enter, to provide a range of options to deliver care pathways. All workforce supply routes should be considered including the Princes’ Trust and our Step Into Health programme .

We also encourage you to access Nomis. Nomis is a service provided by Office for National Statistics. You can search for your local area and it will give you details of the specific groups unemployed in your area to help you plan how to attract more staff to your trust.

Advice and recommendations for employers

  • Ensure that all staff are offered continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities to enable them to progress in their careers.
  • Use the apprenticeship levy to support staff development and actively encourage staff to apply for apprenticeships and development opportunities to increase their future earning potential. Read our case study on how Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust used nursing apprenticeships pathways to increase its nursing supply by more than 100 nurses per year and the impact it had on the individuals who moved from being a health care associate (HCA) to a registered nurse.
  • Holding career events and sessions for staff. Read about Leeds Teaching Hospitals recruitment events for both internal and external staff to chat to existing members of staff within these areas to learn about specific vacancies, training and education opportunities, application guidance and career development options.
  • Make it easier for internal staff to move to other jobs in their organisation to learn new skills and develop. Read how Sherwood Forest Hospital implemented an internal transfer scheme for band 5 nurses, which increased staff skills to help them progress. 
  • Implement career pathways that allow staff to learn on the job and develop their skills to progress within their career at your organisation. Medway NHS Foundation Trust has introduced a career pathway for support workers which has been highly successful.  

Emerging practice and case studies

  • West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust is trying to recruit from diverse backgrounds to increase staff BME representation. This includes going to schools and places of worship to explain the opportunity and career path to different communities.

  • Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust and Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have a joint venture agreement on delivering recruitment and development and have witnessed the great impact that a focus on internal staff development can have on progression, and morale.

  • Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust used volunteers to support their allied health professionals, offering a first step into an NHS career.

  • University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust has worked to increase the number of trainee nursing associate apprenticeships.

Further tools and resources