Today I am shadowing the Divisional Director for Women's Health and Paediatrics – Mr Faris Zakaria (many of you will know him as "Zak"). In the coming weeks I will do the same with the other Divisional Directors and it got me thinking about lesser known opportunities in the Trust to learn from others and broaden our horizons.
Often, we think we know what other people's jobs entail. Yet the reality of what they encounter and do day-to-day can be vastly different to that expectation. Taking ourselves out of the comfort zone of our usual "day-to-day" and experiencing someone else's reality provides a fresh perspective and is good for personal development.
Indeed, almost 50 colleagues take the opportunity to participate in every "In Your Shoes" programme which runs twice a year in April and October. I know that colleagues take part for many different reasons. Some want to apply for a job in a different department and see what it's like first-hand, others are thinking of a career change and want to explore the possibilities, or are keen to progress along the career ladder and gain insight from senior leaders. Often, however, colleagues are just interested to "get out there" and find out more about what others do. All of these are great reasons to get involved – so look out in the coming months for more information about the next programme.
In a similar way, for the local community we offer a very popular work experience / shadowing programme. Most weeks we have up to five participants with us from a diverse range of backgrounds; the majority of which are young people in full time education. We offer different types and lengths of programmes depending on what they are interested in and colleagues work really hard to make their time spent with us informative, interesting and valuable.
Those coming to us on a clinical shadowing placement spend time in several different areas of the hospital to give them a taste of what's on offer – including the wards, theatres, outpatients and A&E. Sometimes we also work with schools to provide specific programmes for younger students, aged 14-16. This is something we are really keen to develop further. The feedback we receive about our work experience offer is really positive and it's rewarding to think we are inspiring the next generation of healthcare professionals and so we are now thinking about how to scale up this work.
I'm also very proud of the work we do with Brooklands College. Each November, Staff Engagement Officer, Heather Bixley meets with a small group of students who have different behavioural, emotional, physical or mental health needs or disability. We provide a bespoke work experience package for them, beginning in January with an individual induction programme. Students work three days a week during term time for six months, in areas such as Portering, Post Room, First Steps Nursery, Catering and Estates. We recently offered our first student an apprenticeship after he impressed our groundsman so much. Heather tells me this is one of the best and most rewarding parts of her job and asked me to encourage you to get in touch if your team or department could offer an opportunity to a student.
For now, have a lovely weekend. Hopefully the run of good weather will continue, if a little cooler and you'll have the opportunity for some rest and relaxation.
With best wishes,