Connected Health to recruit 150 Covid-19 unemployed

Connected Health has launched a drive to recruit hospitality and retail workers laid off due to the Covid-19 fallout.

Connected Health, the fastest growing advanced homecare company in Ireland and the UK, has announced the creation of 150 new jobs across its operations in Northern Ireland.

The recruitment campaign to fill new full-time and part-time posts gets underway today and is targeting former hospitality and retail workers to retrain for management, HR/recruitment, finance and care roles.

With the Government’s furlough scheme due to end next month, many workers – particularly those working in the severely stressed hospitality and retail sectors – are deeply concerned about the future of their careers.

Ryan Williams, a Director at Connected Health, says: “Our friends and colleagues within hospitality and retail are sadly facing considerable strain and this is likely to continue in the medium to long term. As a consequence, we want to offer talented, well trained and dynamic individuals the opportunity to retrain and redeploy within the homecare Sector’.

“Details of the new job vacancies and how to apply are posted on our website with all parts of the process, including interview and training, to be conducted via video conferencing. As an essential service, we require a skeleton presence at our HQ in Boucher Road and the Park Centre offices, however social distancing and advanced infection control protocols are in place,” Mr Williams adds.

Connected Health has already taken on staff who, previous to the Covid-19 lockdown, were employed in the retail and hospitality sectors.

Shelley Crooks, from Dundonald, is a former employee of The Strangford Arms Hotel and more recently worked at Cafe Nosh on the Comber Road before it shut down temporarily amid the coronavirus chaos.

She says: “This is a very worrying time for many of my former colleagues and others employed in the hospitality sector. All the talk that a lot of people will be out of work for quite a while is concerning.

“I started working with Connected Health as a homecare worker five weeks ago. I must admit that it is very different to what I was used to, but I am enjoying the challenge. It’s been great, the pay is good, the hours are good and the job itself is very rewarding. There is a terrific team atmosphere and I am building very strong relationships with the clients I work with.”

Student nurse Emma Cardwell, from the village of Ahgalee in Co Antrim, swapped working in a local fish and chip shop for a part-time position as a homecare worker with the domiciliary care provider in mid-April.

She says: “Working within the Connected Health family has been brilliant for me. Restaurant and homecare work obviously have very different challenges, but there is still cross-over in terms of skills. Both roles require plenty of organisation, responsibility, good timekeeping, strong communication ability, a high level of professionalism and lots of teamwork.

“Working in homecare has a high level of personal care which is vital to a career in nursing and so this is the perfect position for me to gain essential experience for a career in nursing as I continue my studies at Queens University.”

Mr Williams explains that the homecare sector has adapted better than most to the transformed circumstances resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.

“Homecare as a sector has performed beyond expectations in terms of restricting the transmission of the Covid-19 virus, despite the fact that millions of homecare visits take place in Northern Ireland annually. At Connected Health alone, we make 1.3 million physical care visits per year.

“As we move forward through the next phase of this pandemic, we expect homecare to be one of the few tools that can be effectively deployed to cope with increasing primary and acute care referrals and discharges. This will mean significant growth and sustainability in the sector, offering real career opportunities as well as enhanced employment terms and conditions.”