College and NHS Collaborate to Tackle Local Unemployment

undefinedOver 15 students from across East Lancashire have successfully graduated from a programme designed to support unemployed people to progress into a career within East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT).

The Step into ELHT programme is a collaboration between Blackburn College, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and has just concluded its second phase.

The programme offers candidates the opportunity to gain a Level 1 Skills for Working in the Health, Adult Care and Child Care Sectors qualification – taught via a 3-week classroom programme at Blackburn College. Marianne Neill, programme tutor said:

“We are extremely proud of our second cohort of Step into ELHT graduates. It’s tremendous that we – in collaboration with ELHT and the DWP – are able to break down the barriers that have previously prevented these students from securing quality employment.”

A significant number of the students enrolled on the programme have previously struggled to gain meaningful employment. Many experience exceptional life circumstances, have a lack of confidence or do not have any previous work experience. Programme graduate Jonathan Tattersall, 35, from Blackburn said:

The barriers I faced in securing employment were my lack of experience and confidence. The tutors at Blackburn College provided a great deal of insight into the industry and got us ready for the NHS interview process – so I found the course both enjoyable and illuminating.”

Jonathan – along with nearly all his Step into ELHT peers – has successfully secured employment with the NHS Staff Bank. Together, they will now be able to provide cover for shortfalls in staffing, vacancies and staff absences. Gillian Cairns, Education and Workforce Lead at ELHT said:

“The success of the programme is testament to the Trust’s dedication to providing more employment opportunities for local people.

“It is also testament to the strong relationships the Trust enjoys with partners Blackburn College and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and how strategic collaboration can have a positive benefit in the local community.”

The first phase of the programme saw six previously unemployed candidates gain permanent employment with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust – with a number now developing successful careers within the NHS.

For more information on Step into ELHT or how a course at Blackburn College can help you to fulfil your career ambitions, visit

28 Jan 2019, 10:12 AM

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