Schoolchildren prescribed a day’s work at the GP

Pupils from three Barnsley secondary schools have been given a rare chance to go behind-the-scenes to find out what it takes to run a busy GP surgery in a bid to prepare them for life outside of the classroom.

The medical work experience proved to be just what the doctor ordered for the sixteen Year 10 students, from Holy Trinity, Dearne ALC and Horizon Community College who took part in a special day event at BHF Lundwood, which saw them learn about the many different roles which are needed to operate a busy GP practice.

Organised by Barnsley Healthcare Federation as part of the Better Learners Better Workers Made in Barnsley programme, the day-long session gave pupils hands-on experience of supporting patients and took part in a range of activities ranging from supporting the surgery’s reception team by handing out prescriptions and answering the telephones to spending time shadowing doctors and nurses. The pupils also took part in a series of workshops and practical learning sessions which highlighted some of the cases which healthcare professionals face.

The three year Made In Barnsley initiative was developed to forge stronger links between local schools and employers, helping to equip young people with the vital skills need to succeed in the workplace. The programme enables students to put their finger on the pulse of developments in several professional industries, which gives them a head start in their future careers.

Made in Barnsley allows young people involved in the programme to develop transferrable skills that will benefit them in a range of workplace environments. It also encourages them to consider careers in Healthcare, Engineering and Construction, helping them to realise their potential whilst also helping them to explore the many different occupations which are available on their doorstep.

The unique programme supports students across Barnsley from the time they are considering their GCSE options to preparing for their final exams. Made in Barnsley is supported by some of the borough’s largest employers including Barnsley Healthcare Federation, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Naylor Industries, Pressure Technologies and Henry Boot.

Sharon Swift, lead organiser at Made in Barnsley, said:

“When pupils are considering their future careers, many have a limited understanding of the many different roles and opportunities available within a particular sector. BLBW Made in Barnsley was created to help challenge those misconceptions and explore the many different opportunities available within some of the town’s largest business sectors. For example, quite a large number of school children automatically assume that to work in the healthcare industry you must train to become a doctor or nurse: many different jobs are often overlooked.

“The young people who we support with the initiative gain the title of Ambassador, as a badge of their commitment to personal development. Their involvement in the programme enables them to stand out to employers, as students gained their place following a rigorous interview process. They also receive a passport of skills that they are able to showcase on their CV.

“The event at BHF Lundwood is one of four specialist workshops organised to give the pupils the chance to gain an understanding of the healthcare sector. Previous workshops have placed mental health and caring for the elderly and vulnerable under the spotlight. When the Ambassadors visited the practice I believe the experience has helped them gain a much greater understanding of how a GP practice works as well as helping them to understand many of the roles needed to help a surgery operate effectively.”

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