On Friday 28 February, Year 9 students from St. Wilfrid’s Catholic School and Oriel High School visited Brighton General Hospital to learn about NHS careers. The workplace visit was arranged through the ground-breaking and inspirational Be the Change programme, which SCFT is proud to be supporting for a second year.
Be the Change has been developed by the Love Local Jobs Foundation to help 13 and 14-year-olds facing challenges within their school environments to build their confidence, and understand the positive changes they need to make in order to realise their career aspirations.
Eight SCFT colleagues have volunteered as Business Guides for this year’s programme, working as mentors by sharing their experiences and career journeys. The Business Guides encourage their students to identify their personal barriers to success, and then help them to find ways of overcoming those barriers.
The workplace visit has proved to be a real highlight in the Be the Change programme’s calendar, as it gives the students an insight into life at SCFT, while showcasing the wonderfully varied NHS career opportunities available to them. Friday’s event was opened by our Chief Executive Siobhan Melia, who welcomed the young visitors and spoke movingly about her own personal career development path.
“I had no idea I would end up in the NHS when I was studying for my GCSEs,” Siobhan reassured the students. “I didn’t have very good career advice and I didn’t know what the future would hold for me. The reason I’m telling you this is because it’s okay if you aren’t quite sure what you want to do in life. I think there are two things that stand out for me - I worked really hard and I was very, very determined to succeed.”
Siobhan studied Podiatry, and worked as a frontline Podiatrist for 12 years before moving into a managerial role: “We have over 5,000 staff, so what you’re seeing today is a tiny part of what we do. If you want to care for people then there are a whole range of jobs, not just doctors and nurses. If you’re interested in maths and the business side then there are plenty of opportunities to develop your skills, and if you like tech and you’re good at IT and digital then the NHS is moving massively in that direction too.”
The action-packed morning included a power chair demonstration from our Healthcare Scientists, and a marketplace of interactive stalls representing NHS Finance, our Care Without Carbon sustainability initiative, the Voluntary and Community Development service, staff wellbeing, our workplace nurseries, and career pathways for Dieticians, Physiotherapists, and Occupational Therapists.
After lunch the students experimented with corn starch and food colouring, learning about non-Newtonian fluids in a messy play session facilitated by our Nurseries team. This was conveniently followed by a hand-washing activity, using a UV light to judge everyone’s hand-washing techniques.
Our Human Resources Director Caroline Haynes closed the day, explaining the vital role that HR plays in supporting staff health and wellbeing, and thanking the students for their attention and participation.
Be the Change demonstrates to young people that they are bright and talented, and that with support from positive role models they can have successful futures. We would like to take this opportunity to thank this year’s volunteer Business Guides – Rhea Edwards, Trudy Ward, Cara Mitchell, Nicki Leighton, Julia Fairhall, Jamie Bewick, Amy Dewey and Ruth Egau – for helping SCFT to make a difference in young people’s lives.