Healthcare course fast-tracks people into work

Published on 25/04/2019 by nmoo

The Health and Social Care Career Academy, a partnership between Blackpool and The Fylde College, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and Blackpool Council, has run its second NHS Sector-based Work Academy supporting local unemployed people to find worthwhile work in healthcare and helping to plug a skills shortage in hospitals and health centres.

Recently a group of 15 local people completed the six-week course at the end of which they were able to attend a job interview that is a guaranteed to them as part of their participation in the course. All successfully came through the interview and will soon start work as Healthcare Assistants at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Some will work full-time on the wards supporting the nursing staff by carrying out a range of essential care needs for patients. Others have chosen the option of working on a more flexible part-time basis to fit with challenges in their private lives, such as childcare.

Their training covered a range of topics from nutritional health to awareness of issues like stress, alcohol abuse and dementia. On completion each received a Level 1 Accredited Certificate in Health and Social Care, which is the first step on a career in healthcare.

The programme also included a focus on improving the employment prospects of those taking part. Guidance was given on how to prepare for job interviews and how students should handle themselves during the interview process.

The programme is open to anybody over 19 and attracts people of all ages and backgrounds who are referred by their local DWP job centre. No formal qualifications are required to be accepted onto the course and every person taking part is guaranteed a job interview on completion, with most moving straight into employment.

Karen Straw, Workforce Development Manager at Blackpool Teaching Hospital, says that she has been impressed by how well people from the course fit into working in a hospital environment.

“This latest group will be the second to come to work at the hospital following attendance on the course,” she says. “Many of the 18 who came to us from the first group have integrated really well and are now delivering high quality care to patients, as I am certain that those in the second group will also do.

“They also all have the opportunity to progress further during the 15 months contract as they will complete a Level 2 qualification. Progression beyond this to Level 3 can ultimately see them apply to be a Trainee Nursing Associate or Trainee Assistant Practitioner, enabling them to pursue a long-term career in the healthcare sector.

“This is a great initiative and it’s very rewarding to see people who have been unemployed gain such worthwhile employment.”

Further details about the NHS Sector-based Work Academy scheme can be found at