Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals deploys successful service personnel re-employment programme

A cross sector partnership has led to a successful pilot project with the specific aim of facilitating the transition of service leavers from the military into civilian employment within the NHS. After a successful pilot at the Norfolk & Norwich (NNUH), the hospital is now working with five other NHS hospitals around the UK to establish a total of six regional networks.

Working in partnership with The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry (The Royal Foundation), Walking with the Wounded (WWTW) and the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) has developed Step Into Health. This attachment programme, specifically for those transitioning from the Armed Forces offers a pathway to veterans and service leavers to employment within the NHS.

Health Education England has approved the partnership’s proposal which includes providing funding for setting up a network of regional employment co-ordinators led by five other hospitals to support ex-military personnel into working for the NHS.

The NHS is the largest employer in the country with more than 300 career paths available, providing an unparalleled range of opportunities for individuals currently outside the NHS to transfer into it.

The programme offers opportunities for all Regular Serving Personnel leaving the services, including those retired through ill health, injury, or wounds sustained on operations. These men and women receive support to undertake an individualised work experience attachment programme which assists their integration back into employment and community life. The programme includes information days as well as bespoke work experience opportunities tailored to their expertise, experience and skills.

The Royal Foundation and WWTW have supported the Step Into Health participants through the programme which both organisations feel will greatly benefit those moving from the military into the civilian work environment.

Julia Watling, NNUH Head of Learning and Development commented: “The aim is to enable delegates to undertake an individualised work attachment placement to identify the potential to transfer their personal skills, knowledge and experience into the health sector. As part of the pilot an information session was developed that introduces not only the NHS but specifically NNUH and Serco, the hospital’s facilities provider, as future employers – the intention being to develop a programme that can be replicated nationwide.”

Since 2014, the programme has provided opportunities across areas as diverse as in-patient wards and midwifery (healthcare assistants), pharmacy, operating theatres, clinical engineering, estates & facilities management, hospital NNUH management / business support, clinical research network, and human resources & staff support.

Following the success achieved in Norfolk over the last year, NNUH is working with five other hospitals to set up regional networks across England, which are:
• Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
• Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
• Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
• The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
• Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Anna Dugdale, NNUH Chief Executive said: “The quality of services that NHS organisations provide to patients and carers relies heavily on attracting and retaining the very best individuals, who embody the values of the NHS, to work within it. The NHS has more than 300 different career opportunities, spanning many clinical and non-clinical roles, representing an unparalleled range of opportunities for individuals currently outside the NHS to transfer into it and thrive.”

Jeremy Over, NNUH Director of Workforce said: “The crucial thing is that delegates get to find out for themselves where their skills and experience are most suited. A significant number have secured employment in the NHS thus far, and others have decided to commence training in fields such as nursing and physiotherapy. It’s shown itself to be a very successful model which we are excited to be able to replicate across the country.”

Palmer Winstanley, former Army Officer and NNUH Assistant Director for Diagnostic and Clinical Support Services said: “It’s a steep learning curve joining the N&N, however every day has shown how the NHS is equally as challenging and exciting as the Armed Services. Thanks to some expert guidance from Julia, Anna and the team I was able to find the area I thought I fitted with through the fantastic work attachment on offer. Having served on operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan, the fear is on leaving we will lose a sense of purpose and the feel of daily operations. Working here gives the best of all worlds, purpose, unity of effort, tempo and different challenges daily. The scheme is definitely a two way process that would appeal to any service leaver.”

Nick Booth, CEO, The Royal Foundation said: “We have been most pleased to support Step Into Health during its early stages and look forward to seeing the success produced in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital being repeated nationwide.”

Edward Parker, Co-founder & CEO, Walking With The Wounded said: “I am immensely pleased with how successful this programme has proved so far. Prior to this, no pathway existed between the military and NHS for non-clinical careers but already the figures talk for themselves.

“Our goal is for the programme to provide a national network accessible to all veterans. We very much look forward to continuing to work closely with the NHS to provide employment outcomes for more ex-servicemen and women disadvantaged by their service.”

Note to editors
Two case studies are available to interview. Please contact Emma Jones for further information on 01603 289821.

To speak to Ed Parker at Walking With The Wounded, please contact Willa Malcolm on 01263 863 900
• Currently 18,000 personnel are leaving the armed forces per year.
• The information day includes a tour of the hospital, access to career information and guidance from representatives in departments across NNUH to provide a clear insight into the breadth of opportunities available. Links can also be made at the session to the options available through local Higher Education Institute with regard to personal and professional development opportunities. Following attendance at the information session delegates are given the appropriate paperwork to enable them to apply for the work attachment element of the programme. Delegates are encouraged to identify areas they would like to undertake their placement and suitable dates. Advice and guidance is offered on a 1:1 basis at both the information morning and following this if requested. Subsequent work attachments are designed and offered on an individualised basis to enable the delegates to identify the relevance and transferability of their acquired skills and knowledge.

The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry

The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry was legally established by The Princes in September 2009 and became fully operational in 2011. Along with The Duchess of Cambridge who is now officially a Patron, they use the Foundation as the main vehicle for their philanthropic activities.

The Foundation has three core areas of focus: supporting young people to achieve their potential; conserving our natural environment for future generations; and finally supporting servi

cemen and women in their transition back into civilian life.
• “Through our Foundation we intend to bring a spotlight to bear on some key challenges facing society today at home and abroad, and to lend whatever support we can to those individuals and organisations leading the fight to confront and overcome these challenges.”- The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry
• Website:
Walking With The Wounded

Walking With The Wounded is a charity established to support the employment aspirations and vocational outcomes of our wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, those who have been physically, mentally and socially disadvantaged by their service.

WWTW recognises the inherent skills of our armed service personnel and wants to compliment these qualities, as well as provide support to transfer their skills into the civilian workplace. We offer assistance through our programmes to those vulnerable veterans who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged by their service and assist them in gaining independence through new long term careers outside of the military. This includes providing support to homeless veterans and veterans in the Criminal Justice System, areas which are too often ignored.

The outcome? Sustainable employment, and independence for them and their families.

Thursday 25th of June 2015 03:00:29 PM