Interview with Andrew Attfield, Barts Health NHS Trust

Andrew Attfield works for one of the partner employers on the Good Jobs Campaign - Barts Health NHS Trust. His role as an Associate Director for Public Health is to work on health improvement of the community. Some of Andrew's responsibilities include implementation of a Trust-wide smoke-free policy, alcohol screening and oversight of work addressing the wider determinants of health including local employment. We spoke to Andrew about the benefits the Good Jobs Programme brings to Barts Health NHS Trust and why they are a Principal Partner.

Please tell us about yourself – your role at Barts Health NHS Trust, your background and career path?

I could be here a long time talking about my career path. When I left University I fell off a bit of a cliff really. I was unemployed and I had to move town so I definitely feel for young people who left school not quite sure about what they wanted to do and have been disrupted by things beyond their control. After being unemployed I got a job in health promotion. Within this role I did economic development and community development. I went on to work in social housing, and I have worked for local authorities. For the last 13 years I have worked for the NHS in areas such as regeneration, health and employment. My role at the moment is as Associate Director for Public Health. As a part of our public health vision for the Trust we see ourselves as making a contribution to the wider health of the community. Our remit covers local recruitment, in-house development and training and apprenticeships as people who are in work - on good career paths - tend to live longer and are more healthy than those who are not. 

Why are Barts Health NHS Trust working with Citizens UK on the Good Jobs Programme?

We are very impressed with Citizens UK and the work they have done in mobilising the community to take action around initiatives like the real Living Wage. Barts are proud to be a Living Wage employer and we like the reach they have into the community, into groups who have a less high profile than others. We like the fact that you have got churches, mosques, synagogues and colleges in membership as working with you allows us to get a message across to those communities about our Good Jobs and opportunities to work for us.

What kind of feedback have you received so far from your colleagues or participants from the previous session?

Generally, the feedback is really good. There are things like ‘I have more understanding about job roles’. The students understand more about our apprenticeships so they become more confident. If you have not worked for a while, or you never worked at all because you just came out of school, you do not tend to be very confident about dealing with the world. The Good Jobs Campaign helps give people the skills and experience to talk about themselves more positively. We have had excellent feedback from our colleagues who have hosted the apprentices.

How would you describe a Good Job?

I think a Good Job is one in which you feel rewarded, not necessarily just financially, but in terms of feeling that you are doing something useful. It is a job where you are encouraged to develop yourself. A Good Job has educational opportunities - you feel like a valued member of a team and you can see how you can progress.

What do you think the benefits the Good Jobs Programme can bring to employers like Barts Health NHS Trust?

Our bottomline as a healthcare provider is that every patient should be treated safely and with dignity. Our mantra is to be safe and compassionate. What we want from anyone who joins us - at any level whether they are a cleaner or a surgeon - is for them to give our patients accurate information about their condition in an empathetic and compassionate way. Projects like the Good Jobs Campaign come in as they take people that are not connected with the health service and help them with their journey. 

Citizens UK’s Good Jobs Campaign works with schools and colleges in disadvantaged communities and employers in high skill sectors to create new high quality training pathways into good jobs for young people. To find out more about our work please visit our website: http://www.citizensuk.org/good-jobs

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