Locals from high unemployment areas in Leeds secure jobs at new NHS mental health unit

We've recruited 40 people including Dorisz (pictured) from high unemployment areas in Leeds to work in our brand new mental health unit for children and young people ahead of its official opening in January 2022.

Dorisz Fuko one of the new Assistant Support Workers at Red Kite ViewThe Trust will provide in-patient care for young people from across West Yorkshire with complex mental health issues at Red Kite View, a new £20million 22-bed purpose-built based in Armley, Leeds.

The Armley and Lower Wortley areas of Leeds have some of the city’s highest unemployment rates, and the Trust has made a commitment to help narrow employment inequality in the area.

The Trust is part of Leeds One Workforce – a powerful alliance of health and care bodies to improve employment across the city. Through Leeds One Workforce, a citywide team developed an important collaborative programme to recruit local communities into health and care roles. By working with people in disadvantaged or under-represented communities in Leeds, the programme aims to encourage interest in diverse health and care careers, improve access to real opportunities, and provide practical support to help people succeed in their chosen career.

Earlier this year, the Trust ran a major recruitment campaign alongside other health and care organisations in Leeds. This offered 25 assistant support worker and healthcare support worker posts at Red Kite View to people in Armley and neighbouring Lower Wortley. The position of ‘Assistant Support Worker’ was created for applicants who did not have the required Level 3 entry qualifications or experience for a support worker position.

The Trust worked closely with Leeds City Council to advertise to local people through community hubs, giving free wi-fi access or using paper application forms.

Dorisz Fuko is one of the new Assistant Support Workers at Red Kite View Dorisz Fuko (pictured) is one of the new Assistant Support Workers at Red Kite View and one of the success stories of the new recruitment approach.

Dorisz, who has a three-year-old son, was born in Hungary and now lives in Lower Wortley. She currently works as a Learning Assistant in a specialist school. When she heard of the opportunity to work in the NHS she felt it would make a real difference to her life.

“Working in health and care will give me the opportunity to actually grow in my field.”

Although she says she will be sad to leave her young school pupils, she feels she will be able to improve her qualifications and achieve her aim to become a mental health nurse in the health service.

“I can’t wait to work with the young people and help them get back on their feet and feel better.

“Not only does the salary mean I’ll have more financial freedom, this opportunity is going to make a real positive difference to my life – working with people gives so much to you as a person. It teaches you to be more accepting of others, and understand them on another level.”

The Trust also ensured that unsuccessful applicants were helped to find other opportunities, which included working with Leeds City Council via the We Care Academy and the Leeds Employment Hub.

A second recruitment round in October looked for catering and domestic assistants. Twenty applicants attended the assessment days and 15 were offered permanent positions. Four had been long-term unemployed and three people were registered disabled.

All the applicants will be given the opportunity to study towards a health care support worker apprenticeship and gain functional skills qualifications in English and Maths. The Trust will provide free training via Leeds City College.

The recruitment has been so successful that health and care organisations across the city plan to use this model to attract local people for jobs across Leeds.

Nik Lee is the Operational Manager of the Children and Young People’s Inpatient Mental Health Service at Red Kite View. He said: “It was fantastic to be able to offer more people from the local community an entry-level role in our team.

“We are offering the chance to make a career in the health and care sector, not just a job. The Trust will nurture and support people who want to progress. They can now start their career in health and social care with the full support of the leadership team to help them develop and strive in both a personal and professional capacity.

“The Trust is fully focused on widening participation and narrowing inequalities by offering jobs to people who have either previously struggled to apply or not had the confidence to apply for a role within health and care.

“Everyone was really engaged, and was enthusiastic about the unit and role, so we believe this will help with retention in the long-term. Some of the many applicants were attracted by the idea of being able to walk to work among other things. It’s good to see that being close to home helps with recruitment.”

The Trust has been able to reach a previously untapped and passionate workforce, creating real job opportunities in the community in which the Red Kite View facility is based and putting it at the heart of the local community as an employer of choice.

Rob Webster, Chief Executive-Designate of the West Yorkshire Integrated Care System, said: “Everyone across our Partnership got behind building this new centre to help young people suffering complex mental illness. It was one of our first actions and it is good to see the results today. Red Kite View means children and young people will receive care locally if they need specialist hospital care. Key to this is having the right workforce and I’m delighted that local people have been recruited to fulfil these important roles. The health and care sector is an investment in local jobs and the economy as well as health services.”

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Economy Culture and Education, said: “We are dedicated to promoting and delivering inclusive economic growth by connecting local residents to employment and learning opportunities, supporting communities and raising their aspirations. Working closely with big employers across the city like the Trust helps us to do this by ensuring jobs are accessible to all our residents.”

Red Kite View will be opening in January 2022 when around six young service users will move across from their current treatment unit at Little Woodhouse Hall in Leeds. To find out more about Red Kite View visit www.leedsandyorkpft.nhs.uk/our-services/cypmhs-west-yorkshire/latest-developments-updates