Interview with Andrew Attfield from Barts Health NHS Trust

Andrew Attfield works for one of the partner employers for 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 the 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.

Andrew could you please tell us about yourself – your role at Barts Health NHS Trust, your background and career path?

Well I could be here a long time talking about my career path. When I left university I sort of fell off a bit of a cliff really. I have been unemployed and I had to move town so I can definitely feel for people who left school not quite sure what they want to do perhaps have been disrupted by things beyond their control. After being unemployed I did get a job in health promotion. Also within that I did economic development and community development. I worked in social housing, worked for local authorities and then the last 12/13 years I have worked for the NHS in things such as regeneration, health and employment and the last 5 years or so in public health. My role at the moment is an Associate Director for Public Health. As a part of our public health vision for the Trust is that we see ourselves as making a contribution to the wider healthof the community and general people who are in work typically in very good career paths, who tend to live longer and more healthily than those who are not. So that is a kind of a bottom line.

Sounds interesting. Also can you tell us why Barts Health NHS Trust are working with Citizens UK on the Good Jobs Programme?

I think we are very impressed with Citizens UK in terms of the work they have done in mobilising the community in favour of things like the London Living Wage. We are proud to be a Living Wage employer and we quite like the reach you have into the community, into groups who perhaps may feel less high profile than others. Then we like the fact that you have got churches, mosques, synagogues and colleges etc. which are on your list because we think that will allow us to get a message across to those communities about Good Jobs and an opportunity to work for us.

Okay, that is great. 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 internships so they can 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 in dealing with the world. You look at your CV and say I have not done much yet. So I think things like the Good Jobs Campaign are useful in terms of work experience. They really help to give people a sense of being able to talk about themselves more positively. We have had excellent feedback from our colleagues who have hosted the apprentices.

Another question is how could you describe a Good Job?

I think a Good Job is one in which you feel rewarded, not necessarily financially but in terms of if you are doing something useful in your own right; where you are allowed to develop yourself. A Good Job is when there are educational opportunities and you feel like a valued member of a team – in the health world we are very big on teams; multidisciplinary teams is how we work. And I think also when you can see how you can progress.

What do you thing may be or are the benefits that the Good Jobs Programme can bring to employers like Barts Health NHS Trust?

Well our bottom line 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. Where campaigns like the Good Jobs come in, they can then take people that are perhaps not familiar with the health service on 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 pease visit our website: http://www.citizensuk.org/good-jobs

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