West Midlands shows the way with graduate jobs scheme

Newly qualified physiotherapists in the West Midlands are finding long-term work through new initiatives including an innovative bank system, says the strategic health authority.

Local banks were set up at 12 pilot sites across the region for physios who had registered with the SHA-run talent pool. Not only have employers been using the banks to offer physiotherapists shifts or temporary work but they have subsequently moved many into substantive posts. SHA talent pool manager Emma Williams said no definitive figures were available but early indications from the pilot sites were encouraging. She said by joining the talent pool registrants were guaranteed paid work opportunities and were in a stronger position to apply for substantive posts when they cropped up. ‘One trust has reported that 70 per cent of people on their bank are now in substantive posts,’ she added. ‘It’s a continual process. When people move into substantive posts many employers refill the banks with new talent pool registrants.’ The SHA has adopted a package of measures to tackle unemployment among newly qualified health professionals. A focus group of third-year physio students was set up to improve communication and to discuss the benefits of using the talent pool. A second recruitment day will take place in the autumn inviting all talent pool registrants to meet with therapy leads and managers with vacant posts. A further one-day conference in October will allow professionals to share good practice, including making the best use of the talent pool. The CSP has praised the SHA’s efforts. CSP senior negotiating officer Julie Collins said: ‘It’s heartening that the SHA has been prepared to put in the time and the financial resource, in terms of dedicated staff, to try and address the issue and physiotherapy/therapy managers have played a major role also.’ 

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