A CHANCE to experience a wide range of careers spanning health and social car has been offered to dozens of school pupils from across Dumfries and Galloway.
A total of 78 pupils took part in Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Partnership’s work experience week.
They gained a firsthand insight into the work involved in roles ranging from care at home worker to dentist, laboratory scientist, IT technician and doctor – potentially shaping their future careers.
Julie White is Chief Officer of Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, and she said: “Attracting people to come and work within health and social care is vital, as we look to ensure we have a modern, sustainable service which can serve our region’s population for years to come.
“I attended the afternoon of presentation which rounded out the week, and was so impressed by the calibre of these young people.
“If they choose to pursue a career within health and social care in Dumfries and Galloway, our services can only benefit.”
Work experience placement were hosted by partners right across the health and social care partnership.
On Friday, pupils had the opportunity to get creative and present key skills, knowledge and what they learned throughout their placement. Originally only 67 placements were available, but after the volume of interest and 126 applications a total of 78 placements were provided to the pupils.
Student Eve Marchbank from Dumfries Academy said: “During this work experience we had the opportunity to go to wards, the Emergency Department and theatre. We got to witness so many interesting patient interactions, with people from all walks of life.
“Being able to hear and see so many parts of medicine has driven my commitment to become a doctor. Thank you so much to Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership for giving us this opportunity, it has been beyond beneficial.”
Eve Campbell from Annan Academy said: “I enjoyed working with the other people on the placement and I felt that our presentation went well. At the hospital I found going up on the wards and looking at the notes really interesting and the pharmacist explained everything really clearly.”
Over 15,000 people are employed in health, emergency and social care services in the region and the sector is the largest employer.
Student Eva Bannenman from Castle Douglas High School said: “Over the past two days I was lucky enough to observe student dentists and how they went about their day. They were extremely welcoming and made me feel very comfortable and involved when shadowing them in their work.
“They talked me through an x-ray of a patient’s tooth that was hooked at the root, so was very difficult to extract. I thoroughly enjoyed observing the communication between the dentist and the patients and seeing how much a dentist can impact someone’s life and mental health. This was what solidified my aspirations to become a dentist and I loved the whole experience.”
Abbie Gray from Dumfries High School’s work experience took her into social care.
Abbie said: “I partnered with Divine Health Care and shadowed a senior worker and went into elderly client’s homes and did basic household chores such as washing their dishes and clothes.
“I worked with clients with dementia and Parkinson’s. It opened the eyes of someone who has never done work experience and made me realise there are people everywhere needing care and support.”
Sophie Irvine-Watson of Stranraer Academy said: “I enjoyed every aspect of my NHS placement from meeting new people to gaining experience in a field where I want to gain a career in.
“Anyone to get the opportunity to take part in the NHS placement will find it worthwhile.”
Amber Hannah of Stranraer Academy said: “My experience was brilliant. It gave me a clear understanding of the responsibility and team work needed to be a nurse. It also showed me it is a highly rewarding job.”
Alice Dougan from Castle Douglas High School said: “This experience has confirmed that I want to be a doctor as I completely loved the week and liked the role a doctor plays in patient care.”
The certificates of completion were presented in Stranraer by NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chairman Nick Morris, and in Dumfries by Director of Public Health Valerie White and by Julie White, who encouraged the students to feel accomplished and expressed her admiration for how well the students adapted to the placements.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway Workforce Manager Vic McDade said: “This is the perfect time to demonstrate to the pupils what their future can look like and inspire them to work hard in their studies to pursue a career that they’ll love.
“Overall this week has been successful in getting the students excited about a career in health and social care. This is just one of the planned activities identified in the 2022 – 2025 Health and Social Care Workforce Plan, aimed at engaging, informing and attracting youth to study, train and work in the sector.”
She added: “The pandemic has opened up the eyes of our youth to what a rewarding career in health, emergency and social care services can be.
“A recent survey of S1 – S3 students has shown that health and care is one of the top future career choices for this age group, so with social distancing rules now relaxed we felt it was an ideal time to work with the schools to progress our plans.
“We have been overwhelmed with the response from departments to ensure the students get a valuable learning experience.”