Marching into a new NHS career?

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Howard David (left), Danielle Fullwood (Step Into Health regional lead) and data centre manager Gary Edwards spoke at the information day

Military veterans are getting the chance to pursue a new career in the NHS thanks to a recruitment programme run by Guy’s and St Thomas'. Ex-service men and women attended an information day at Guy’s Hospital on Friday 22 January to get tips on successfully applying for jobs and work placements in the NHS.

More than 20,000 people leave the military every year. Guy’s and St Thomas’ is one of five NHS organisations in England hosting the Step into Health pilot scheme which also provides mentors to coach service personnel through the recruitment process.

At the event, attended by ex-service personnel and recruitment officers from the armed forces and other NHS trusts, veterans who now work at Guy’s and St Thomas’ explained how they had been helped to find new careers in the NHS after their military service ended.

Howard David, 58, a prosthetist at Bowley Close Rehabilitation Centre in Crystal Palace, says: “I joined the army in 1978 when I was 20. I’d been a welder and the firm I was with went bust.

"My job was repairing guns and I was posted all over the world including Hong Kong, Bosnia and Ireland. I was in the army for 22 years and I loved the camaraderie. I left at 42 and my resettlement officer suggested I take the prosthetics and orthotics course at Salford University because he thought it would be a bit like engineering.

“Now I make artificial limbs for people. It’s a fantastic job and very satisfying because I’m helping people to get walking again after amputation.

"I left the army with no medical background but the life skills I gained and the experience of meeting lots of different people prepared me for a new career in the NHS. I’d say to anyone leaving the armed forces today don’t hesitate, make an application and ask to do a work placement. You never know where it might lead.”

Ann Macintyre, Director of Workforce, says: “Leaving the forces must be like leaving a family with its clear structure.  But the NHS is like a family too. It can seem like it has a very different culture but with more than 300 different roles in a typical hospital, there are many great jobs here.

"This programme is about making human connections, one human being helping another, so that service people can achieve their aspirations and start another successful chapter in their lives.”

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Last updated: January 2016

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