Restart Scheme

Serco Restart Scheme, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust: Working together to create job success in the region

2nd Apr 2024 Restart Scheme

The NHS has been working with the Serco Restart Scheme since July 2021 to recruit Restart Scheme Participants into NHS jobs. Initially working with University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB), the relationship has grown, and Serco now work with many Trusts in the West Central region and Wales.

Emma Dalton, Widening Participation Projects Manager at Sandwell and West Birmingham previously worked at UHB. Emma’s team focuses on how the Trust can be more inclusive and innovative in the way they recruit, as well as working with the local community and encouraging employee progression once someone joins the NHS. When Emma moved to the new Trust, she contacted the Employer Engagement Team at Serco to see if they could replicate the work with the Restart Scheme that had taken place at UHB.

The Trust currently has three hospital sites; Sandwell General Hospital, City Hospital and Rowley Regis Hospital which over 7000 members of staff.

In June 2023, the Widening Participation Team delivered their first ‘Employability Opportunity’ course for ‘Ward Service Officers’, run in conjunction with Sandwell College. Part of the course focuses on ‘Employability Essentials’ covering completing the job application form, registering Participants on their systems, interview feedback and ID checks. At the end of the course, Participants are ready to start applying for jobs.

In October 2023, the Widening Participation Team focused on healthcare support worker/assistant roles, where some of the positions are ringfenced for Restart Scheme Participants. Initially there were 10 roles available, but 14 people ended up being offered jobs! As part of this course, the Widening Participation Team help Participants with job applications, supporting statements, recognising transferable skills and more. Then, once Participants are offered a job, the Widening Participation team provide further support with completing the paperwork required for the role, which can be a lengthy process due to checks within the NHS.

The Trust’s purpose is to ‘improve life chances and health outcomes’ so they know how crucial it is for someone to be employed to improve their health and wellbeing. By helping people find work, it can improve their life chances and health outcomes – win/win! Sandwell and West Birmingham Trust is opening a new hospital this year – the Midland Metropolitan University Hospital in Smethwick - and will continue to work with Serco to support people into work.

To date, five Participants have started roles, three have received conditional job offers and three have completed their pre-employment training and are awaiting an interview date. Working in conjunction with Serco’s delivery partners in the region, Groundworks and Steps to Work, there is confidence that this figure will continue to grow, and we will see more Participants securing employment with the NHS in the near future.


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