Helping young people to get started
At Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, we offer work experience to young people. Serco is responsible for facilities management at the hospital, including catering, portering, security, cleaning and waste management.
Since Get Into Hospital Services launched, giving young people work experience opportunities, 65% of participants have gone on to find jobs.
At Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) two schemes are underway to help young unemployed and disabled people in the local community experience the world of work.
Get Into Hospital Services is part of The Prince's Trust work-experience programme that launched at NNUH about three years ago. Under the scheme, people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) over the age of 16 were offered a month's work experience to develop skills that would help them find future employment. Last autumn, the placement period doubled to eight weeks as part of the work experience programme that Serco now champions in partnership with Jobcentre Plus.
Since it launched, about 65% of participants have gone on to find jobs, with many staying on at NNUH; more than 20 young people have gained work across the hospital. The most recent person to gain full-time employment through the scheme is Daniel Betts (pictured right), who works in medical records. Others have subsequently moved on to other employment but the experience at NNUH was the beginning of their future working life, says Chris Paul, Serco's Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at the hospital. "It's not just about work experience. These people leave with experience to put on their CV, along with health and safety, food hygiene, customer care, and literacy and numeracy qualifications gained while with us. They've got a package which they can use to say 'This is me' to future employers."
At the end of 2011, NNUH invited retired external business partners on site to help the young people create their CVs and, importantly, offer professional insight and encouragement. Martin Wakenell (pictured top left) started at NNUH as part of The Prince's Trust programme and is now a ward catering host. "I joined NNUH after completing my Prince's Trust scheme around two years ago. I am now employed and have just recently completed my Level 2 NVQ in Occupational Health & Safety and Hospital Facilities Services. It seems a long time since I was unemployed and had nothing to look forward to," he said.
Meanwhile, Project Search offers a year's work experience to young people with learning difficulties or disabilities. "They do different rotations within the Serco facilities contract and within the wider NHS Trust. It's about finding their abilities," explains Chris.
Project Search began at NNUH four years ago, after a senior nurse told managers of a trailblazing programme at Cincinnati Children's Hospital in the US. It has since been rolled out to other Serco contracts, including Wishaw General Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary and Derriford Hospital.