UHDB has partnered with Derby College Group and Job Centre Plus (JCP) to support our administration and clerical workforce development plan by launching short pre-recruitment courses for adults of all ages wanting to apply for Administrative and Clerical (A&C) roles at the Trust.
Under this new collaboration, which has been active since April 2022, we have seen the hiring of a number of new colleagues the organisation across a variety of departments, with the entire first cohort now in our employment.
With this positive news, and the course now seeing its fifth cohort take part, A&C Further Education Recruitment and Training Project Manager - and recent Annual Making a Difference Award 2022 winner - Melanie Palmer hosted a celebratory get-together, to bring the successful new staff and key stakeholders into one room - thanking all involved for their support and applaud the new colleagues on their successes.
Mel was delighted to see everybody come together and celebrate: “I am so proud of what has been achieved by all involved, particularly the students who are now UHDB colleagues. This first group has proved the concept, and I am very grateful for them joining that inaugural course.
“There have been some recent challenges in recruiting Band 2 A&C staff, and it had been escalated to senior managers across the organisation to see how we could improve our recruitment of these crucial members of staff – which is how I, working alongside colleagues including Roger McBroom (Head of Patient Access and Administration), who is the professional lead for A&C staff, came to set up this course.
“All effective organisations succeed with the support of exceptional administrative and clerical staff, which this cohort certainly are – and the pre-recruitment courses provided our new colleagues with some of the skills required to deliver outstanding work that supports our clinical colleagues to deliver the best possible care to our communities.”
Explaining what the courses consist of, Mel said: “The course enables people into employment here through certification, placement experience, and training and helps us meet one of our obligations as an anchor organisation.
“There is a Customer Service Level 2 Certificate delivered through Derby College that the candidates must complete and pass; Lorenzo training; some mandatory training courses; and a placement.
“It’s been very beneficial working with JCP and Derby College on this – we’ve developed a really effective pathway to hire candidates who are motivated and in many cases, very experienced, to address our own recruitment challenges.
“It has been a huge success so far thanks to the support we have had from our own Executive Team, hiring managers, JCP and Derby College, as without their support this might not have been possible.”
Isla Watson, one of our new Administrative Assistants at Royal Derby Hospital who was hired through the course after enrolling directly through Derby College, has said “go for it” to anyone considering enrolling onto future courses.
She said: “It is such an amazing experience and opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds.
“Everyone who came through the course is like a family, even though many of us work in different areas at the Trust now – we are all constantly learning, meeting new people and making new bonds.
“I’m based in Recruitment, but for example, my colleague Joshua is based at Hand Outpatients, also as an Administrative Assistant.”
Joshua Thrower, who found out about the course through JCP, said this role and the course increased his knowledge and skills and helped him to learn even more: “It’s both challenging and rewarding.
“It’s a great atmosphere and all the staff here have been so welcoming and helpful. The course was extremely useful and I hope it leads me to a well-established career here. It is definitely worth going for, especially if you want to access a career that may have otherwise been difficult to get into, and learn the right skills. I really feel like I’m flourishing in my role.”
Head of Patient Access and Administration, Roger McBroom, who is also the professional lead for A&C staff, was delighted with the new recruits to the Trust, and said he was “extremely pleased” to see those completing the course alongside key stakeholders who have supported this pilot all in one place to celebrate.
He continued: “It’s just fantastic to see everyone responsible for the new influx of talented A&C staff get together and take a moment to reflect on what they’ve all achieved together.
“We have provided opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and level of experience through this work with Derby College and JCP – hiring for roles in critical parts of our organisation, crucial to us delivering the best possible care to our patients.
“We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Derby College and JCP and we are now putting plans together to see if we can expand the operation into the south of our area to better support our Burton campus.”
Carol Dixon, Derby College Group’s Director of Employer Partnerships, said: “We were working with the Government’s Skills Development Fund, meaning we could consult with local employers to understand some skills needs that they might have, and what we’d heard from UHDB was that they were looking at new ways to attract the right quality candidates into A&C roles.
“We used that funding to develop the programme, and in partnership with Mel and Roger, we built a short course around qualifications that would provide people with skills that would be beneficial to the Trust in these roles, getting them ready for this sort of employment.
“The aim was that, at the end of the programme, those completing the course would be ready to immediately move into the organisation’s available positions – and we’ve seen with this first cohort with whom we celebrate today, as they all now work for UHDB in roles they were almost tailor-made for!”
Mel added: “We of course change the lives of our patients at UHDB, but also, with this course, we change even more lives by enabling more people into work, which has been a privilege.
“We are continuing the course for the foreseeable future, if there are any UHDB colleagues reading this that are seeking Band 2 A&C staff, please get in touch with me on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Or, if you’re a member of the public and want to apply, the enrolment and application process opens at Derby College when a course is due to commence – but if you just want to hear more information, please get in touch.”