I chose Birmingham after attending an open day talk. The lecturer (Colin Thain) gave a really insightful talk on how you can tailor the Political Science course to suit your own interests. The range of modules really impressed me and gave me the flexibility I needed, as I had no idea about what career I wanted when applying to university. The campus felt friendly and homely, and all of the facilities, especially the Sport and Fitness centre, were things that helped me make UoB my first choice.
Whilst I was a student, I was the Political Events Officer for POLSOC, which was amazing fun. I was also a POLSIS Student Ambassador, helping the department on open days. My favourite spot in Birmingham was definitely Brindley Place; I always enjoyed walking along the canals and eating at one of the Sushi restaurants there became a regular occurrence.
My current role is Policy Manager for NHS England, and I am currently working on the Primary Care Strategy for the COVID-19 response. I am overseeing the process of recruiting thousands of GPs back into the workforce across England, which will help alleviate COVID-19 pressures on the NHS. This involves developing the operating models under which GPs are working and project managing the on-boarding process so GPs can re-enter the workforce or increase their hours as swiftly as possible. The changing picture means that we need to analyse situations, determine available solutions and implement them rapidly. While working on COVID-19, I have certainly become used to working at pace in response to the pandemic.
My most memorable day of my job so far was the day we went ‘live’ with our first returning doctors. I’d been working 15 hours plus a day (including weekends) with an absolutely incredible team of people and it was fantastic to know that all of our hard work was going to help people with suspected Coronavirus. It was very rewarding to know the work we’d completed would improve patient care - the main reason I applied for the role in the first place.
My role prior to the COVID-19 outbreak involves developing Primary Care Network Strategy. This includes leading on specific services and developing the Investment and Impact Fund. I determine this policy by speaking to multiple stakeholders and by proposing several options to senior decision makers. I then write guidance documents for Primary Care practitioners so that the policy can be implemented to best effect.
My one piece of advice for current or prospective students is to not be scared of growing up and becoming an adult. It’s not half as scary as you think it will be, and the job opportunities will come; you go through a stage where you think you won’t ever find anything, but by networking and getting relevant work experience, you’ll create a distinguished CV. With determination, it will fall into place.
Being at UoB definitely broadened my horizons – it’s been inspiring!