Cumbria Crack

Dream placements for NHS future workforce

Clare Parker with CPFT Dream Placement students

[L]ocal students are experiencing a dream placement this week behind the scenes of the NHS to prepare them for careers in healthcare.

Ten sixth form students from Cumbria have been selected, following a rigorous interview process, to undertake a one week placement at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) or University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMB).

Students are spending the week with a range of clinical services and different managers to find out more about what it takes to make it in their chosen career. They have the opportunity to meet staff from all levels of the organisations and also learn about the wide range of behind the scenes services needed to provide patient care.

The students’ chosen careers include general practice, dentistry, mental health nursing, surgery and orthopaedics as well as support roles such as project management. Jasmine Metherell, 17 from Trinity School in Carlisle, is one of the students on placement at CPFT. She hopes to study medicine at university and go on to train as a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) psychiatrist: “It’s been great to talk to lots of people from different parts of the NHS and I’ve found out all sorts that I didn’t know. It has also been helpful to learn more about the different training routes into health careers. I think this placement will help to give us the edge when we’re applying to study – no other work placements give you the chance to talk to so many senior leaders.

“I’m passionate about working in the NHS and providing early intervention for young people with mental health issues before they reach crisis point. I hope to eventually work in Cumbria so it’s been great to find out more about the opportunities available.”

The NHS in Cumbria is committed to supporting local young people to develop a career in health. By working together across the three trusts students have access to a wider network of opportunities and can gain a good understanding of how different parts of the health system work together. Vicky Lumley, careers & engagement lead at UHMB, said: “The programme provides young people in Cumbria with a fantastic opportunity to gain ‘behind the scenes’ access to organisations and employers. It is wonderful to see the students grow in terms of independence and confidence throughout the week, but it is also fantastic to be part of their journey from education to employment, and equip them with the skills and experiences to apply for jobs, apprenticeships or further education.”

The placement is just the start and students can use the relationships they develop over the week for ongoing support. Kate North, head of workforce futures & inclusion at CPFT, added: “This is the third year we’ve offered dream placements and we’ve seen some fantastic young talent. We are really committed to growing our future local workforce and stay in touch with the students well beyond their week with us to offer ongoing support and advice. One of our original dream placement students has now worked for the trust as an apprentice for two years and some of the students who took part last year are now studying at local universities. The Centre for Leadership Performance Dream Placement is a fantastic program, which we are proud to be part of.”

Dream Placement, organised annually by the Centre for Leadership Performance, sees public and private sector organisations across Cumbria offering students placements to learn more about leadership and future careers in the area. The placements are highly competitive with almost 200 applicants in total and, of these, 90 were interested in health careers.

Jean Hill, learning and development manager at NCUH, commented: “Dream placement offers so much more than the usual work experience. Shadowing clinical teams is great for the students but what makes this different is the focus on developing leadership skills that will help them stand out from the crowd when they apply to study or for a job.”

The students will mark the end of their placements on Friday with presentations to NHS staff on what they’ve learnt over the week.

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