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Graduate Employment Success

28 October 2009 - 11:00am

Graduate employment among physiotherapists has significantly improved as a result of joint action by CSP and other staff unions, NHS Employers and the Department of Health (DH).

But England's Social Partnership Forum (SPF) is keeping a close eye on the issue and has launched an online toolkit which will to facilitate early action to address any problems that may re-emerge. The toolkit will also spread good practice in partnership working. In what represents a good example of social partnership working, the joint action through the SPF has resulted in 83% of the 2,377 physiotherapists who qualified in 2008 now finding employment while 61% are gaining permanent jobs in the physiotherapy area across the UK, CSP figures* showed. The project, launched in January 2007, followed evidence that newly qualified healthcare professionals, in particular physiotherapists, were unable to find employment in their chosen profession. A sharp increase in commissions to meet growing demand, which had not been counterbalanced by adequate workforce planning, plus unanticipated financial pressures, had led to widespread vacancy freezes. England's Social Partnership Forum established a joint-working group that worked with stakeholder organisations to help support newly qualified healthcare professionals into employment.

Example of partnership working

In addition to the success on the issue of graduate employment, the project was an excellent example of partnership working, successfully tackling real issues. Its partnership approach, which included a raft of innovative activities across national partners but also regional and local partnership engagement, was commended in the IPA SPF review in 2008. The SPF sub-group has been wound down in order to mainstream the work into the SPF's work programme. But there is a commitment to keeping a "watching brief" of the issue of graduate employment.

Toolkit launched

A user-friendly and 'animated' toolkit has been produced to share the learning and good practice around partnership working and to "help partners at all levels to take early action should problems resurface". The toolkit includes interviews with key stakeholders, newly qualified graduates and a patient making the case for partnership working in delivering improved services. The SPF, it was agreed, should promote this toolkit and recommend to strategic health authorities (SHAs) that they:

  • maintain a designated person within the SHA to monitor the position of future new graduates across the professions, through both their talent pools and the contacts built up with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and other external stakeholders
  • provide regular updates to regional SPFs to identify if any problems are re-emerging, in order to agree early action to prevent these problems escalating

Further information

SPF website toolkit: www.socialpartnershipforum


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