YOUNG people across Barrow are being inspired about job opportunities thanks to a collaboration between schools, employers and a charity.

Inspira, a charity which supports employers to meet skills gaps across Cumbria and Lancashire, is working with Risedale Care Homes, MSH Healthcare, other businesses and organisations and local schools to help people on their career path.

At a recent event held at Walney School, Inspira worked with Risedale and MSH to showcase opportunities in the health and social care sector to the students.

Allison Redshaw, deputy headteacher at Walney School, who organises the Futures Friday events at the school, said: “It’s an opportunity to open the eyes of our students about careers available to them in Cumbria and across the UK by bringing people into the school from different jobs and different sectors to tell their personal story.”

Maria Appleton, Employment Engagement Coordinator for Inspira, goes into schools to raise awareness of career opportunities and linked up with Risedale Care Homes and MSH Healthcare, among others, to ensure students are aware of career opportunities open to them.

Maria said: “Like many businesses at the moment, health and social care providers are struggling to recruit and we help match those who might be thinking of a career in those sectors with employers so people know more about what’s involved and what employers are looking for.”

It’s part of Inspira’s role in supporting employers in a wide range of sectors across the North-West, including its highly successful pre-employment programmes.

Leah Emerson and Faye Anderson, both clinical nurse managers with Risedale Care Homes, linked up with Inspira to speak to students at Walney School.

Leah and Faye shared information about the different pathways into social care, including apprenticeships from Level 2 to Level 6, and the opportunities for career progression within the sector.

Faye said: “The students were great. They asked us lots of good questions about what it’s like to work in the care sector and the role of nursing within social care.

“College is not for everyone and there are credible alternatives which also offer people the opportunity to earn as well as progressing their career in a profession.

“Partnering up with someone like Inspira provides a whole network to increase awareness of employment opportunities we have in the social care sector.”

Maxine Baron, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust Integrated Care Community Development Lead for Barrow, said: “The work Inspira does is really important. It is giving young people exciting opportunities.

“The health and social care sector has staff shortages across the country and it is the same in Barrow.

“The organisations which Inspira works with have a very good reputation for nurturing and developing their staff. These are opportunities for people to have a very rewarding career and excellent career progression.”

Inspira also helps people with their employability skills such as CV writing, vacancy applications, and also offers courses, working with the Department for Work and Pensions and employers to provide people with guaranteed interviews. MSH and Risedale have both recruited people through Inspira's Key pre-employment programme for unemployed adults.

Julia Winder, Inspira’s Area Operations Manager for Barrow and the South Lakes, said: “It’s wonderful to see individuals who haven’t necessarily felt they had the skills or the confidence to apply for particular roles develop, gain work and see the positive difference that makes to their lives.

“Giving these individuals the awareness about career opportunities, and the skills needed to apply for job roles also helps employers across Cumbria and Lancashire provide vital services in our communities.”

Other business and organisations who attended the recent Futures Friday event at Walney School included: V360, Signal Films, Winders Accountants, Orsted, Morgan Sindall, Cumbria Police, Kendal College, Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service, and the National Citizen Service.