Melanie Smith from the North West London Integrated Care Board visited West London College on 20 July 2023 to talk about working for the NHS. Melanie met Multiply maths students and local people looking for a career change at the employment event. She told everyone about the jobs available in three new Diagnostic Centres, as well as careers in local hospitals. One of the Diagnostic Centres, based in Willesden, is already open and the others will open in Wembley and Ealing from December 2023.
Melanie is based in the Diagnostics team at the ICB and part of her work focuses on recruiting the future workforce for the NHS.
Melanie said: “Most people don’t realise that the NHS is their biggest local employer offering over 350 different job roles, from patient-facing jobs, such as a hospital porter and healthcare worker, to support roles which are non-patient facing like IT, catering and cleaning professionals. We have great entry-level roles with learning and development opportunities through apprenticeships.”
Multiply maths courses are free – from beginners, leading to GCSE and Functional Skills. The courses are open to adults who do not already have GCSE Maths at grade 4 (grade C) or above, taught at the right pace to suit each learner. Multiply maths courses improve job prospects, help students to move on to further study and increase skills and confidence in everyday maths tasks.
One Multiply maths student asked about a job in housekeeping to fit in with her commitments. Melanie explained that there are vacancies close to where she lives and at various shift times to suit her best.
Melanie said: “Our goal is to have people working in hospitals and healthcare facilities who come from the same local communities as our patients.”
Alongside other colleagues, Melanie is going out to nearby communities to highlight local NHS opportunities, take contact details and help to navigate application routes where necessary.
A local man described how he is taking a career break to care for a relative. Melanie explained that jobs in healthcare can be part-time or shift work to fit in with other requirements. For example, a hospital porter can work three twelve-hour shifts in three days, and then has the rest of the week off. A portering job involves interacting with often anxious or distressed patients and helping to make them feel better with conversation and a caring approach prior to their healthcare.
Angela Mooney, Service Manager at Hammersmith & Fulham’s Ashchurch Centre attended the event with local residents who have completed Multiply workshops. Angela asked if it was possible to have work experience before applying for a job.
Angela said: “The difficulty our residents often have is interviewing for a role when they have no experience of it.”
Melanie responded that she is working with her NHS London colleagues to set up a programme locally to give community members an opportunity to spend more time in the workplace to try different things and help with interview preparation or assessment.
Sue Jenkins, West London College’s Multiply Maths Manager who organised the employment event said: “At this time of year, our Multiply maths students are work-ready for a whole range of roles from security guards to receptionists to baristas and more, so this was an ideal time to invite Melanie to meet them and help them into meaningful and important jobs.”
If you want to work for the NHS locally, log onto the health careers website, and look out for adverts for your local NHS Trust recruitment events on social media.
The NHS North West London Integrated Care Board works with Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and London Northwest University Healthcare NHS Trust, as well as other specialist, community and borough-led providers to oversee care provision for local residents in North West London.
A new employment model is being trialled for the Community Diagnostic Centres that was originally piloted in Clacton. It creates opportunities in a different way to engage local community members and encourage them into local NHS employment. Melanie Smith is working with her NHS London colleagues to set up this programme locally as one route into employment.