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New programme helping underrepresented people into healthcare support roles

Fifteen Somali women are getting a boost into employment through a new pilot programme empowering them to be ‘job-ready.’

Posted on: 9 August 2023

The Training Hub launched an employability programme in July in collaboration with volunteer practice management staff, and local charity Women's Inclusive Team (WIT) and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. 

It is designed to fit with needs of primary care receptionists and administrative roles and to enhance people’s capabilities and confidence, and feedback from participants has been positive.

Supporting underrepresented groups

Research and evidence collected by WIT and the Somali Working Task Force found that Somali ethnicity representation in the local workforce is significantly underrepresented compared to other groups, so the focus was on improving access to opportunities for women from the Somali community.  

Two of the participants have already been offered paid employment positions in their placement practices. The others have the option to be enrolled on the GP Care Group ‘staff bank,’ which opens opportunities for temporary roles to support practices. 

Getting participants get job-ready

The program began with five days of intensive face-to-face skills-based training, followed by four weeks of training about essential competencies required for working in frontline primary care and and work placements in General Practice.  

Following this, the participants underwent a two-week work placement in various GP surgeries across Tower Hamlets, gaining valuable hands-on experience in a general practice setting.  

The final week consisted of workshops covering interview techniques, application forms, letters, CVs, and other relevant online modules. A council Equity programme fund covered the programme’s cost. 

Positive feedback

One participant said: “The training exceeded any other programme I have attended. The practical approach to learning made it more authentic, and the work experience was invaluable as it allowed me to apply what I learned in the first week. I grew personally and professionally, pushing myself beyond my comfort zone.” 

Layla Abdi, GP Care Group Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Facilitator, praised the programme and said: “This training has been a comprehensive support system for women facing barriers to training and employment in Tower Hamlets. From day one, I could witness the candidates flourish and gain a real boost in their life skills and self-confidence, opening new horizons and raising aspirations for the future. GP employers can also benefit from local support of workforce.” 

All the GP practices that stepped forward to support the project have contributed to its success in Tower Hamlets. Their support and cooperation in accommodating learners for the entry-level programme are highly appreciated.