Ash O’Hara is Education Learning and Organisational Development Manager - Talent for Care at The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. She has led her team in exploring new and innovative ways of increasing numbers of apprentices within the trust.
The talent for care team at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) is part of the organisational learning department. They are responsible for the trust’s widening participation agenda, including the development of the 6500 support staff who work across the trust.
The crossover within the workstream includes schools engagement, employability and apprenticeships, which makes the population we are engaging with diverse but commonly linked by their use of social media.
LTHT uses corporate accounts on both Facebook (15,537 followers) and Twitter (6115 followers) to engage with the community we serve. On top of this, organisational learning have their own accounts with fewer visitors, but are often reposted by the LTHT corporate pages.
While Twitter is popular with professionals, the most accessible means of social media across our diverse workforce and wider community appears to be Facebook. Facebook is popular with all age ranges and even those individuals who believe they are computer illiterate.
To promote the career opportunities at LTHT we use a variety of methods such as email, posters and banners, but have found our most effective and productive method of getting results is the use of social media - particularly Facebook.
LTHT currently employs over 300 apprentices. With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017 and the many new apprenticeship standards being developed, the trust is looking to increase the number of apprentice roles employed to double that.
With this aim in mind, in August 2016, we planned an event to promote interest around apprenticeships at LTHT. The event was aimed both internally at staff looking to progress and new recruits at an entry level.
The team produced flyers, sent emails and posted on our trust Talkback site (an internal electronic noticeboard) and, working with our communications team, posted details online via Facebook and Twitter.
Following the incredibly successful day we gathered information from people who attended asking them how they heard about the event. In total there were 166 attendees of whom 33 heard about the event on Facebook, with a further 63 hearing about it from friends and family who had seen it on Facebook.
This event was repeated in December. 88 attended this time and we recorded information as to how they heard about the event. Again 33 said they heard about the event via Facebook, and a further 15 from friends and family.
These events generated a real interest in applying for apprenticeships at LTHT. Both days allowed potential applicants to learn about the various apprenticeship roles available across our hospitals. It also meant that the team could offer assistance in applying for these roles. The response from attendees was incredibly positive and many said they would be applying for the roles.
LTHT uses these engagement events to secure its future workforce and our values based recruitment ethos allows us to nurture talent from a variety of backgrounds and develop the skilled workforce we require to provide safe and efficient services across our trust. Social media plays a critical role in allowing us to reach these potential staff.