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Inspiring the next generation of healthcare workers

21 Jul 2016

Students at the Cardinal Wiseman School in Greenford had the chance to find out all about jobs in healthcare, during a careers day run by West London Mental Health Trust.

Healthcare ambassadors OT

On Thursday 7 July a group of healthcare ambassadors from the trust ran interactive workshops with 300 Year 8 students at the school, who are just about to take their GCSE options. The workshops aimed to raise awareness of the wide range of jobs in healthcare, and encourage students to pursue careers in mental health and WLMHT.

The workshops included:

  • Careers in mental health nursing by Ray Langshaw and Ali Webster
  • Careers in occupational therapy by Marcella Egan, Alexandra Thompson, Jason Kingdom and Rebecca Brooker
  • Careers in estates and facilities by Jonathan Campbell, Charlotte OKeeffe, Laura Fitzsimons and Julie Gamble

The occupational therapy presentation helped the students understand the kind of issues occupational therapists help to treat. They engaged in fun activities, such as the one-handed sweet challenge, where the students had to try and unwrap a Starburst with one hand and without their thumb. This gave the students the chance to consider how having limited use of their hands would make them feel.

Staff then spoke about how occupational therapy can help people with a variety of difficulties, and provided practical information about the qualifications needed to embark on a career in the field.

Marcella Egan, occupational therapist, spoke about her experience of the event: “Giving an activity-focused presentation was extremely satisfying and I felt that it really supported the students’ understanding of our roles as occupational therapists, both within mental health and physical health services. Our interactive sessions removed the tediousness of starting ‘another talk about career choices’. We giggled, they giggled, we provided encouraging words as did they amongst their peers.

“All of the students we met were very well behaved and an inquisitive bunch of young people. We received well thought through and relevant questions, and a few challenging ones that we answered sensitively. Participating in this event has been a very rewarding experience that I will treasure forever.”

Mary Somerville who organised the event on behalf of Health Education England said: “Thank you so much to the staff from WLMHT who supported this event, it’s so important that we engage with young people to promote careers in healthcare and this event was very well received by the students and staff at the school.”

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