Those struggling to get a job or find a route back into work are being given a helping hand by the NHS in north Cumbria.

To date, five unemployed individuals have managed to get the training and experience they need to secure work.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust ran the Step into Work programme to recruit healthcare assistants at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle.

Starting in November, the six-week programme included three weeks training and three weeks of placements in the hospital.

Since completing it, they have successfully applied for bank health care assistant positions and are now regularly working for the trust.

Among them is Eunice Njeri, who said: “When I came to the UK I tried getting a ‘proper job’ but I struggled a lot because I didn't have any experience.

"I’m now working as a health care assistant. I work on the bank and as a mum of a one-year-old, this is the best option for me because it’s flexible. It is an opportunity of a lifetime for me. I am loving my new job."

A similar scheme will start in March at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

James Manser, learning facilitator at the hospital trust, added: “The Step into Work programme is a great way of helping people not only get back into work, but to realise their potential and build a career.

"It is helping us to grow our own workforce too.

"Ten people are now employed by the trust through the programme and working many shifts on the wards, with some contemplating the nurse apprenticeships in the future.”