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Trust's pledge to further develop staff's 'talent for care'
31/07/2015

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has signed an official pledge which underlines its commitment to continuing to develop its support staff so that they can deliver better services, improve their skills and take on new challenges in the future.

The Trust’s Chief Executive, Michael Scott, and Staffside Representative, Carol Briggs, signed Health Education England’s ‘Talent for Care and Widening Participation Partnership Pledge’ today, 30 July.

The national initiative is designed to help employers attract more people to a career in the NHS, while strengthening the assistance which is offered to staff in support roles, such as healthcare assistants and admin staff, who play a vital role in delivering services.

Signing the pledge formalises many of the initiatives which the trust already has in place to develop and grow its workforce, such as offering apprenticeships, work experience and foundation degrees. It also commits the trust to continue offering support staff the chance to gain new competencies so that they become highly skilled, flexible and able to meet the future healthcare challenges.

The pledge is divided into three themes – ‘get in’, which will give more people the opportunity to start their career in a support role, ‘get on’, which supports people to be the best they can be at their job, and ‘go further’, which ensures people are given the chance to progress their career, should they wish.

To meet these objectives, the trust will build on initiatives already in place while also recruiting more ‘health ambassadors’ to work more closely with schools, promote careers within healthcare and attract more young people into the NHS. The trust will also work more closely with trade unions to sign up members as ‘union learning representatives’, who will support work-based learning across the trust so that staff can develop their own skills and progress their careers.

“Our support staff play an absolutely critical role in the care we offer to our service users and patients, and are a vital part of our overall team at NSFT,” said Michael. “By signing this pledge, we have officially underlined our commitment to them and to maximising their talent for care.

“Growing and developing our workforce is a key priority for our trust and, as such, we already offer the vast majority of the initiatives recommended within the pledge. By formalising the commitment, we hope to continue making a difference to patients, service users, families and carers, while also boosting our staff by opening up new opportunities for them to develop and move their careers forward.

“We are working closely with representatives from our trade unions to drive this important project forward and are delighted to become one of the first trusts in the region to officially sign up.”

NSFT has signed the pledge following agreement at its Board and a Trust Partnership meeting, which brings together union representatives and the Trust.

Carol said: “We are happy to be working with the trust to move forward on this important project, which formalises NSFT’s commitment to its vital support staff.

“The pledge builds on many of the initiatives which are already in place to develop and encourage these staff, who play a crucial role in the delivery of our services and who may wish to progress further.”

Photo caption: L-R Michael Scott, Chief Executive, Patricia Delos-Santos, corporate apprentice; Carol Briggs, Staffside Representative, and Bethany Golden, management support admin.​