Birmingham: hospitality to health

(2020 – ongoing)

“Hospitality to health” is a local employment initiative that has been launched through the Birmingham Anchor Network – applying the principals of community wealth building to address the impact of Covid-19 on the Birmingham economy.


  • Pioneer Housing Group – members of the Birmingham Anchor Network – were concerned about the number of their residents at risk of redundancy from the hospitality sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Birmingham University Hospital Trust – also members of the Network – needed to recruit significant numbers of staff at entry level positions as a result of increased pressures due to Covid-19.
  • Through the Anchor Network the members were able to identify the match in these needs and work together to develop a programme to address them jointly.
  • This project also addressed a need on behalf of the Anchor Network, who had recognised that in order to progress its ambition of delivering employment opportunities at scale, they needed a better understanding of the potential barriers to this goal and evidence of success in overcoming those barriers. To this end, “hospitality to health” functions as a pilot project that demonstrates the potential for future schemes from the Network, with real jobs, delivered at speed, despite being launched in the middle of a pandemic.

How it works

The Hospital Trust recognised that former hospitality employees may have exactly the skill set to make great Health Care Assistants but the Trust’s employment team had little experience of recruiting from other sectors or in delivering targeted recruitment at a neighbourhood level. Similarly, Pioneer had a local employment team but little experience in helping people access careers in the NHS. The two institutions worked together in a way that combined their different strengths to successfully attract Pioneer residents onto a pre-employment course delivered locally by the Hospital Trust.


Thus far, the “hospitality to health” programme has received 60 enquiries from one neighbourhood, 31 residents have been supported and 24 are now in employment or pre-employment.

The pilot identified many issues with the Trust’s recruitment process that were an obstacle to people wishing to switch careers into an NHS job. The Trust is now addressing these issues so that the pilot can be rolled out at scale. The pilot has led to the development of a proposal for a “Keyworker Employment Hub” in East Birmingham that will act as the bridge between the Network partners and low income communities.

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