Workforce shortages are an ongoing challenge for the NHS in England. In contrast, COVID-19 has led to an increase in unemployment. Young workers have been hardest hit as many are employed in sectors that are worst affected by the pandemic.
With its reach into communities, The Prince’s Trust can support you to recruit, train and mentor young people entering your workforce. This business case and accompanying PowerPoint will help you to present the case for supporting a partnership with The Prince’s Trust to board members and senior leaders. It highlights the key benefits employing young people will bring to your organisation as part of a long-term strategic approach to workforce planning.
If you prefer, you can also download this content as a pdf.
The national landscape
The NHS People Plan contains a commitment to grow the workforce for the future. It asks employers to overhaul recruitment and promotion practices to make sure that staffing reflects the diversity of their communities, and regional and national labour markets. It also asks employers to increase recruitment to roles such as clinical support workers, promote potential career pathways and offer more apprenticeships at all levels. At a local level, organisations must take action to support these national asks.
Prince’s Trust pre-employment programmes can help you to recruit a diverse workforce and develop a pipeline of motivated, skilled, local young people into entry-level roles and apprenticeships in the NHS. Promoting career pathways and apprenticeships in your organisation can help to retain this workforce and support local economic recovery and growth.
- The NHS has a shortage of nearly 84,000 staff, with 38,000 vacancies (one in ten posts) in nursing.
- 6 per cent of the NHS workforce is under 25, 48 per cent is over 45.
- The unemployment rate for young people (aged 16 to 24 years) was 14.6 per cent in July-September 2020, compared to an unemployment rate of 4.8 per cent for the whole population.
- 298,000 unemployed young people (16 to 24 years) were not in education, employment or training (NEET) from April to June 2020.
- The extra costs to the NHS of health inequalities have been estimated as £4.8 billion a year from the greater use of hospitals by people in deprived areas alone.
- For every £1 spent on delivering pre-employment programmes, an NHS trust could recoup that £1 plus an additional £2.50 in financial and economic benefits.
- 86 per cent of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation.
- In 2017/18, NHS trusts spent £5.5bn on temporary staff to cover vacancies and other short-term absences, accounting for over 10 per cent of total pay costs.
Benefits of employing young people
Shape your future workforce
- Recruiting and investing in young people now will help tackle the issue of the ageing workforce in the NHS as older workers can transfer their knowledge and skills to younger recruits.
- Prince’s Trust pre-employment programmes can be tailored to meet the needs of each trust. Using their support to inclusively recruit young people based on what you need now will ensure they have the necessary skills and values needed for the future.
- Investing in young people brings returns in commitment and loyalty. Nurturing young people’s talent will motivate and engage them even further and will help to maintain productivity and reduce future recruitment costs.
Recruit a more diverse workforce
- Employing young people can enhance your reputation as an employer with strong community links and boost your public profile as an ‘employer of choice’. A good reputation will attract talent from all communities, helping to meet the needs of the community you serve.
- Adapting recruitment processes to engage underrepresented groups in your workforce will widen your talent pool. Long-term investment in pre-employment programmes and apprenticeships can lead to higher levels of staff retention; employees tend to be loyal to the organisations that invest in them.
- The Prince’s Trust offers mentoring support alongside its courses for up to 6 months after completion of a programme. This provides young people with additional support as they prepare for and start employment. For employers, this can help to retain new starters and integrate them into teams.
- This may also have a positive impact on retaining the existing workforce as staff feel supported and perform better in organisations that value diversity and are committed to employees' wellbeing.
- Diversity and inclusion are key in delivering high quality services as they enable your workforce to be truly representative of the community they serve. The Prince’s Trust supports marginalised groups into employment and research has shown that within healthcare, a diverse workforce can ensure a better understanding of patients' needs which is crucial for the delivery of joined-up, personalised care.
Fulfil your corporate social responsibility
- Youth unemployment has risen due to COVID-19 as many young people have lost jobs in the hospitality and retail sector. The Prince's Trust Youth Index 2019 highlights a deterioration in how confident young people felt about their current circumstances and about their future. The overall Index score has remained at its lowest level since the study was commissioned a decade ago.
- As the NHS is often the largest employer in a region, it is a critical source of employment for local people. By helping local young people into work and enabling them to develop a career, a trust can build a more inclusive work environment, improving the health and wellbeing of local communities and begin to narrow inequalities.
- Delivering Prince’s Trust pre-employment programmes are a great way to help local young people get ‘work ready’. Programmes are fully funded and can be followed by the Kickstart Scheme which provides young people with a paid six-month work placement, for at least 25 hours a week. The government will pay employers £1,500 for every 16-24-year-old they train. This offers a viable pathway into entry-level roles and apprenticeships for unemployed young people.
- Following a Prince’s Trust programme, the young people you employ can become a talent pipeline for your apprenticeship programmes. Apprenticeships offer an alternative route to a qualification from level 2 up to level 7. Embedding apprenticeships into your workforce strategy can support workforce supply shortages, training needs and benefit services.
- The apprenticeship levy provides the opportunity to maximise apprenticeships within the NHS, using money that is already ring-fenced. Training apprentices can be cost effective and can reduce overall training and recruitment costs.
- Growing staff shortages have led to an overreliance on the use of agency and other temporary workers to fill vacancies, costing the NHS a significant amount of money.
- Young people are not only the workforce of tomorrow; they also bring unique skills, attitudes, and new ways of working to organisations. Adapting recruitment processes to include individuals who may be lacking in confidence will help to ensure they are supported and retained throughout the recruitment process.
- Attracting young people who would not normally consider a career in the NHS or who are unaware of the variety of roles available provides an opportunity for organisations to identify and shape their skills to specific roles.
We have produced a template business case presentation to further assist you with presenting your business case to your board. The presentation also includes key messages you can use for each member of your board.
Download the PowerPoint.
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