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Wales to develop ‘open’ talent pool

The Welsh government is to pilot an ‘open’ talent pool scheme for new physiotherapy and speech and language therapy graduates.

Graduate employment was the CSP’s top priority when Society officers met the minister for health and social services Edwina Hart (pictured right) earlier this month.

The minister chose the pilot scheme from a list of options to support professions that were experiencing problems in graduate employment. Under the scheme a higher education institution will keep a database of newly qualified graduates looking for jobs and of vacancies across Wales. Employers will have to use this as a first port of call when filling posts.

Unlike some of the talent pools in England, this pool will be open to all graduates living in Wales, regardless of where in the UK they trained. No details of the timing of the pilot or funding available had been announced as Frontline went to press.

Philippa Ford, policy officer for the CSP in Wales, said, ‘While this was not our preferred option, at least the government is taking some positive action to support graduates in finding employment. We are also relieved that those who train in Salford, for example, and want come back to Wales to work will be able to join the pool’

The CSP’s preferred options were ones that would invest directly in those professions that were experiencing employment difficulties. For example, one option looked at ‘project posts, which would have allowed the minister to target key Welsh Assembly government priority areas with targeted funding of physiotherapy services.

The chosen move also includes support for innovative ways of boosting graduate employment through, for example, graduates providing temporary cover for vacancies outside of individual professional roles, with time built in for them to gain experience of clinical practice and mentorship. Employers’ guides on support and mentorship for graduates working in different care settings are being prepared. CSP officers are to meet Ms Hart in July for an update on progress.

At the meeting with Ms Hart, the Society told the minister that while the general situation on graduate employment had improved, with only 21of those graduating from Cardiff in 2008 still seeking jobs, a CSP survey had found 22 physio posts had recently been frozen or lost in Wales.

Ms Hart said directors of human resources across NHS Wales should be alerted to this and asked the Society for examples.


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