Start Here: Apprenticeship Hub – Connecting people to NHS careers

Client challenge

The NHS and our wider health and care services are under great pressure and working hard to recruit staff into a range of jobs, including key front-line roles. The NHS across South London is looking to support potential candidates to be ‘job ready’ before they apply and to provide routes into clinical and other roles for staff already working in health and care settings.

We developed Start-Here as a digital platform to connect local people wishing to work in health and social care, and access targeted training and support to build their career.

A priority is to attract people into the many NHS Apprenticeship roles and help them develop the skills they need to become apprentices. 

In most cases, this requires English, Maths, or IT qualifications at Level 2 which can be an obstacle.

Our solution

The Verve Communications team worked with trusts and learning providers for over 5 months, and developed Start-Here as a whole-system approach:

  • A digital platform with a single enquiry form which routed learners and potential applicants to the right training, support and opportunities – intelligently depending on their location and current employment across 12 South London boroughs.
  • Co-designed with NHS apprenticeship and training leads, as well as learning providers and internal communications leads across more than 20 NHS organisations and 17 colleges, specialist providers, and 3 trade union training departments.
  • A communications toolkit for use in NHS trusts and digital marketing campaigns with an active follow-up.

Next steps

Working with a hospital trust, mental health trust and the London Ambulance Service, this has developed into a structured set of pathways for learners interested in applying for apprenticeships, for existing staff who wish to develop skills – and to route potential candidates to support which can help them move into NHS Careers.

For people looking to join the NHS with interest and transferable skills but without qualifications, applications for funded training at local colleges can be made directly from the Start-Here platform – which helps candidates to apply when they are job-ready for a whole range of opportunities, from technicians to admin and IT roles (as well as clinical).

This means the local NHS can recruit people already working for them as porters or health care assistants to “grow their own” clinical staff through structured routes into apprenticeships.

And for young people with no experience, a concentrated course is available (free of charge) provided by a specialist youth employment organisation which in two weeks leads directly to in an interview for a real, permanent job in a local hospital.

The results

In its first year, the platform received over 1000 enquiries about training courses. Candidates were routed to more than 17 different learning providers.

Within ten weeks of launching the wider offer, 542 enquiries about jobs and apprenticeships were received at one Trust alone (about 10 per day).

What stands out is how Start-Here has become a hub where employers develop their workforce and people can take charge of their careers.

Our work with Start-Here is making a difference in South London and inspiring the next generation of health and social care staff to be proactive about their development and realise their ambitions.

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