Barts NHS hospital trust helps 700 people get jobs in deprived East End

Some of the people who've landed jobs with Barts NHS trust through its Community programme

Some of the people who've landed jobs with Barts NHS trust through its Community programme - Credit: Barts NHS Trust

A training programme set up by the NHS trust that runs five major hospitals in the City and East London has helped 700 people this year in their search for jobs.

Many who have been taking part in Barts Health Trust’s Community Works for Health programme are facing complex health conditions which put them at a disadvantage in the jobs market.

The programme also helps deprived communities in London’s East End, or mums returning to work after a career-break.

Others include those with poor health history which prevented them working.

Tessa Somerville, 56, is a volunteer who landed a job as a healthcare assistant while slowly recovering from cancer, after having to give up her job during her early treatment when she was diagnosed in 2003.

“I started volunteering and befriended older people,” she recalls. “As my condition improved over the years, I volunteered as an extra pair of hands to help on a ward.

“This pathway programme changed my life. My job prospects rose with training to pass an assessment in English and maths.

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“It raised my confidence, trained me to present myself better and helped me write a job-specific CV, leading to a job as a healthcare assistant at St Bartholemew’s Hospital, which I see as ‘reward’ for my efforts to seek employment.”

An awards evening was held earlier this month for 100 people who have landed permanent jobs with the health trust after going through training and placements. Another 98 have started apprenticeships, while 113 had six-week admin and clerical work placements and 153 completed NHS ‘employability’ training.

Jobs secured through the scheme included nursing, laboratory assistants and joining clinical and corporate teams. The project helps particularly those with a disability, long-term conditions or poor health history which makes it harder to get work.

Bart’s community programmes manager Sadhek Khan said: “Employment is linked to improved health outcomes, so we give training or work experience and a reference—which boosts their confidence to break into the world of work.”

Some 30,000 people receive unemployment benefits in east London, with half related to poor health. This creates a barrier to jobs.

But Bart’s Community Works for Health programme is proving you can get through that barrier—at least that’s what 700 people across East London are saying.