Late last year, our hospitals signed up to provide placements for the Kickstart Scheme, a government initiative with the purpose of reducing local youth unemployment.
The placements can be in clinical or non-clinical roles and last for six months. While on the placement the young person will gain on-the-job experience of working in the health sector, receive relevant training to their role and a reference that they can provide for any future job applications. As well as this, if the person does not already have an English or Maths qualification at grade C or above they will be enrolled onto a Functional Skills course while they are on the placement to enable them to increase their qualifications, and so remove possible barriers to obtaining permanent roles in the NHS.
The Project manager for Future Workforce, Debby Lewis, who manages the scheme for the RCHT, explains: “To prepare young people, who may have no previous experience of work, we have partnered with the Prince’s Trust to offer a short introductory programme for working in the NHS. The course will cover how to write a good application, interview skills and the social rules of the workplace. The roles on offer will be shared with the participants and they will be supported to complete applications. The Prince’s Trust will continue to offer mentorship and support for the duration of the placement and provide support into employment for any unsuccessful candidates.”
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Prince’s Trust to deliver this programme and really value their expertise working with young people. This can only enhance the experience we already offer to our local youth, and will increase our opportunities with engaging with the workforce of the future.”
The RCHT currently has 17 young people on Kickstart placements, with further interviews taking place next week and after the introductory course. We hope to have filled 50 places by the end of the year and aspire to retain as many of those as possible in our workforce after their placements have ended.
Rhys Stone, who is currently gaining experience as an IT Assistant through Kickstart, explains: “Before Kickstart it was near impossible for me to get a job within the IT sector, as every employer wanted around 5 to 10 years of experience minimum, which having just left education, I didn’t have. I was lucky, as the Kickstart Scheme had just made its debut in Cornwall and I was notified of the position for Kickstart IT Assistant here at the RCHT. I’m now getting all the experience and on-the-job knowledge that mainstream education just couldn’t provide. Every day on this placement I’m learning more and more of the key skills and experience that employers are looking for. This will really help me to gain more opportunities that previously I wouldn’t have even applied for.”
Joshua, who is currently working in admin as part of his Kickstart experience, agrees, adding:
“Being on the Kickstart program with the NHS has been quite a fascinating and eye-opening experience. I have had a first-hand insight into how our National Health Service operates, which has really helped me to broaden and improve my skill set. Before the Kickstart program, I felt applying for certain jobs was beyond my abilities, now I feel I can apply for those same positions with a lot more confidence.”