The Belfast Trust hosted a World of Work visit on Thursday 6 December 2007 . The visit was in partnership with MENCAP and in total 8 students visited the Belfast City Hospital . The students visited 3 areas: Catering, Portering and Admin istration and spent approximately 30 minutes in each department gaining an insight into how these areas operate. The respective managers ensured that the tours were as interactive as possible and all the students were encouraged to ask questions. The administration visit which focused on working within Human Resources gave everyone an opportunity to carry out clerical tasks including filing, photocopying and binding documents. The students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to visit different departments and to get the chance to see first hand what it would be like to be employed in a hospital setting.
South & East Belfast Health & Social Services Trust, in conjunction with the Cedar Foundation , has developed a Training for Work Programme aimed at persons with a disability. The aim was that individuals would be equipped with the knowledge and skills to enable them to become job ready and compete successfully for employment within the Trust. Eight people who are currently with the Cedar Foundation attended a week of intensive training in November 2005 and have since embarked upon a one day a week job placement within a clerical role in the Trust. The initial classroom-based training provided the trainees with an understanding of organisation culture and gave them an induction to the trust. It also covered a range of job-related skills.
Persons with a disability may be long term unemployed and anxious about returning to permanent employment. Our trainees highlighted many of their fears and concerns with regards giving up benefits, travelling independently and simply mustering up the confidence to enter the workplace environment and do the job. Taking on permanent employment is a huge step for people with a disability. Hopefully one made easier with our support.
The programme has achieved its aim in so far as it has raised awareness amongst Trust staff with regards the existing imbalance in the recruitment of persons with a disability and illustrated the benefits of having a more inclusive workforce.
More importantly the participants have all had positive experiences and achieved differing personal aims. Whether this has been valuable work experience, working as part of a team in a work environment, increased self-confidence, the opportunity to explore different career options or even deciding to take the next step and try to secure permanent employment the outcome is the same. A positive one.