Employer Interview: T Levels with Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
As an advocate for T Levels, Education Lead Chris Broom shares insights into T Level work experience that provides our students with diverse opportunities across different areas within the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Think that A Levels are the only route to university education and a rewarding career? Think again.
We’ve been delving into the world of healthcare education and careers with Chris Broom, the education lead at Gloucestershire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. As an advocate for T Levels, Chris shares insights into the work experience that makes up part of the course, providing our students with diverse opportunities across different areas within the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
He touched on the benefits of work experience, the range of career options available, and the rewards of working in the National Health Service (NHS).
Q: Can you start by telling us about your role at the hospital?
A: Yes, certainly. I'm the Education Lead here for Theatres. I oversee the education of around 500 staff members and various students, apprentices, and trainees coming into healthcare roles.
Q: How are you involved with the T Levels at Gloucestershire College?
A: This is our first year incorporating [Adult Nursing] T Levels into Theatres, and I think it’s providing a new platform to link school leavers into healthcare professions through a different route.
The opportunity to transition from a college programme to a university programme (whilst employed by us) has not been done before and so we're now actually able to go to schools and talk to 15 and 16-year-olds about what their career might look like over the next 10 years, whereas historically we used to just rely on university placements.
So we're now in a position where we can offer people careers rather than just courses, and that's a really powerful difference from what we used to do.
Q: What opportunities are available to school leavers at the hospital?
A: We have T Level students working in several different settings around the hospital, not just in theatres. For students who are studying a Health T-Level, there's a whole variety of different professions out there. So, I personally am an ODP, an operating department practitioner, which is one of the allied health professions (AHPs). And so nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions - for which there are 14 different professions are possible for these students.
But we'd welcome students that are looking for any sort of career. Hospitals aren't just run by healthcare professionals. We've got people in business, people in finance, people in teaching, people in administration, management roles. In the NHS there are over 350 different careers, it's not just run by nurses and doctors.
Q: Why is the collaboration between GC and Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust important?
A: I guess it hopefully provides a really attractive incentive for those that live within Gloucestershire to stay here and be able to take their career journey on a number of different routes and pathways without having to even leave the county! And I guess with our students here, by starting them early, they're able to take that journey into the NHS and stay with us for a long time. And hopefully it makes it more of an attractive place for others to move into as well.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your role at the hospital?
A: My role is specifically in education and looking after our staff, who ultimately are then the ones looking after our patients and service users. Being able to see the direct impacts of my efforts and my team's efforts on our staff and colleagues and the effect that has on the quality of care we're able to provide is probably the most rewarding part of the role.
Q: How do T Levels benefit students in making informed career decisions?
A: I think we catch students at a really difficult time in their life and making decisions about where they want to end up can be quite nerve-wracking. Whereas the opportunity they get through T Levels are that they come into a workplace and can really work out from a variety of different role models and from their own perspective where they can end up. That first-hand experience means that they're going to be making a much more informed decision about their career journey.
This course has given opportunities for students, such as Libby, to really grow in the workplace. And it's been really wonderful to see how their confidence improves and they're starting to see the impacts of what they do and how that affects the quality of care that we can provide our patients.
I grew up in a time where everything seemed a lot more linear and career choices could corner you. And so you didn't want to make the wrong decisions, whereas I've now learned that actually you can take all sorts of diagonals and directions in your career. And T Levels are just another way and another opportunity for people to make decisions and be a bit more creative, I suppose, than the traditional routes that were available before.
With so many opportunities available, now is a great time to explore your options and consider a T Level.
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