The 100th person to find a job in the health service under an innovate scheme involving NHS Greater Glasgow says that project has turned her life around.
And thanks to training and support from Working in Health in Greater Glasgow (WHIGG), Baillieston mother of two Michelle Rae is thinking of a long-term career in the NHS.
WHIGG is made up of NHS Greater Glasgow, Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, the Wise Group and Job Centre Plus, who are working together to offer the long term unemployed the opportunity of employment with NHS Greater Glasgow.
Michelle (32) began her first job four weeks ago as a ward clerkess at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, after spending 14 years as a fulltime carer for one of her sons and claiming income support.
It was the first interview she had after completing the WHIGG programme where topics included training in job seeking, interview and personal
skills, and short work experience placements.
Michelle has since added knowledge of issues such as infection control and patient moving and handling to her skills base.
She said: "My son's health has improved and I decided to look for a job.
"When my local Jobcentre asked if I would be interested in WHIGG, I thought I would give it a try, and it's the best thing I did.
"The hours are part-time which suits me because I'm at home when the kids get back from school, and if there are any calls from the school I can be there."
Michelle admits that she was very nervous at the prospect of getting into the job market, and her self esteem was low, but WHIGG gave her the confidence to take her first steps into work and possibly a new career.
As a ward clerkess Michelle is responsible for making sure that patients' paperwork is up-to-date, including laboratory results, and is ready for doctors' signatures, answers the telephone and is in charge of stationary.
She said: "I feel much better about myself and the hospital staff are very helpful and supportive.
"This has turned my life around, and if a better job opportunity turns up in here I will certainly go for it, and the same goes for any training.
Caroline McLaughlin of the Wise Group, who was Michelle's support worker, praised her trainee's commitment.
She said: "Michelle stood out from the start, she was 110 per cent committed to the scheme and she's a lovely person.
"Michelle is a great example of what WHIGG stands for."
Annette Monaghan, Care Careers Programme Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow, said:
"We are really pleased with the success of the scheme and are looking forward to recruiting even more Glasgow residents in NHS Greater Glasgow."
Health and Community Care Minister Andy Kerr officially launched WHIGG in June this year.
The initiative began in 2004 and led to nine trainees being offered full-time employment with NHS Greater Glasgow.
A photograph of Michelle at work on her ward is available on request by contacting Susan Carden, Communications Officer NHS Greater Glasgow, tel. 0141 201 4429.
The objectives of the WHIGG programme are:
The programme runs between 2 and 15 weeks with a minimum guaranteed interview for completers; potential guarantee of job subject to agreed criteria.
The existing WHIGG pilot started in January 2004 with a six week programme.
40% of participants were unemployed for more than 2 years and 16% over 10 years.
An image of Michelle is available on the NHS Greater Glasgow picture desk at www.nhsgg.org.uk.
For further information contact the NHS Greater Glasgow press office on 0141 201 4429.