Nick Byrne is a medical physicist who works for Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals and within the Cardiovascular Imaging Department at King’s. His main research looks at methods of manipulating cardiac MRI data to fabricate 3D printed heart models that can help cardiologists plan treatments and surgeries for patients with structurally complex heart diseases. Nick took part in Skills London 2015, a careers fair for 15-24 year olds at the Excel Centre in London, where over 7,000 students took part. Nick was joined by Dr Kawal Rhode and PhD student Shuangyi Wang, both from the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
I was recently part of a team of NHS employees who attended the Skills London fair at the ExCel Centre. This is the biggest jobs and careers event for young Londoners, in its own words, aiming to bridge the gap between what young people enjoy doing and what they could potentially do as a career.
We were a mixed group of nurses, paramedics, researchers and scientists, and were there to showcase the wide variety of career opportunities in public healthcare. As the fifth largest employer in the world, we were never going to be able to represent all NHS job roles, so were lucky to also have staff from NHS careers on hand to help us out.
Initially I was concerned that our at least superficially simple stand of leaflets, literature and a few 3D printed heart models might be outshone by some of the flashier exhibits such as the rock climbing wall, penalty kick speed gun and pedal-powered smoothie makers. However, although I found myself considering a career change to animal handling, we soon had a great many school students and young people (15 to 24 years old) approaching us with a real interest in working in the NHS.
We had enquiries from potential future doctors, clinical psychologist, nurses, midwives, dance therapists, scientists, surgeons, paramedics and geneticists to name but a few. I certainly learned a lot about the different routes into the various jobs we were exhibiting but also about just how many different roles are available in the health service. I also had the chance to talk to people about my own research work in 3D printing and enjoyed testing out the GCSE students on their recently acquired knowledge of cardiac anatomy.
It was great to see so many young people keen to learn about the relevant paths into their chosen career in healthcare. I was impressed by the number of clued up students who already knew the best route to take, both into and throughout, their chosen career path, and was happy to help those who were not so sure. We will certainly be in safe hands in the future!