Innovative ‘bootcamp’ program bridges the gap to healthcare employment

Posted: 30/11/23

Earlier this year, a local NHS service teamed up with Derwentside College to take a new approach to helping people get into a career in healthcare.

Rose Lodge, based in Hebburn, is an assessment and treatment inpatient unit for people with learning disabilities. It is run by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW). The Trust is one of the largest providers of specialist mental health and disability services in the North of England.

The Trust worked with Derwentside College to host an intensive two week ‘bootcamp’. This programme offered attendees a guaranteed job interview for a position as a Support Worker at Rose Lodge after completing the course. Staff from Rose Lodge also came to talk to attendees about what working on the unit is like.

Candidates had daily training on topics like infection control, the Mental Health Act, handling medication, and everything else they would need to start work.

One of the ‘bootcamp’ attendees who is now working at Rose Lodge explained, “I used to work at a nursery, before taking some time out to care for a relative. I was looking to get back into work, but going back – and into something new – after a break was quite difficult.”

This is why the job advert for the ‘bootcamp’ programme interested her. “I had done an adult health and social care qualification at college, but that was a while ago, so it was very helpful to brush up on the skills,” she explains. “It was also really interesting learn about what the job was actually like day-to-day from staff who were already doing it.

“I’d not done this type of work before, but I knew I wanted to do it, and having someone who was in the job already come to speak to us at the bootcamp really helped.”

She started her new job in May, and recently moved up to a Band 3 position after successfully completing her probation period. She now works as a Support Worker, helping patients with daily activities.

Her favourite moment so far has been seeing some of her first patients get discharged. “When I started, one of them had really wanted to go home – so actually helping to get him to the point where he was discharged and could go home made me so happy. It was just lush to see them get better.”

She is ‘loving’ her current job, and has no plans to move on any time soon, but is intrigued by the Registered Nursing Degree Apprenticeship which the Trust offers. “It’s really good to know there’s options in the future to move up if I want to.”

CNTW NHS Trust will be running more employability programmes in early 2024. These will run in a variety of different locations with different colleges, including North Cumbria. If you are interested, please contact [email protected].