When I was applying for the scheme questions I always asked when talking to previous grads were “what does a week look like on the scheme” and “what sort of things do you get up to?”. I therefore thought I’d take the chance to give some insight into what a typical week on the scheme looks like for me on the General Management stream:
This week starts with annual leave! I have found booking leave a really simple process, and it is always important to take a bit of time off considering how busy you can be whilst on the scheme.
Tuesday starts off with catching up on emails over the past few days. I then travel to Liverpool to lead on a recruitment meeting for our department which I had set up the week previously as a matter of urgency. NWAS (North West Ambulance Service) where I am based has been facing great pressures recently, and it became apparent that we needed to focus on our staffing (and quickly) to try and combat the challenges we are facing.
In the afternoon I sit down with my Placement Manager who allocates me meetings to attend on his behalf and goes through his calendar to see if there are any other events which would be beneficial for me to go to. We talk about my time on the scheme, my current projects, and any problems I have ran into.
I spend Wednesday welcoming a fellow grad from Yorkshire Ambulance Service on a visit. We use this as a chance to compare current projects and discuss our experiences on the scheme so far. We visit the old control centre (where we take 999 calls and dispatch ambulances) and then journey across Liverpool to visit the new one where we are currently moving into. We then meet with my Placement Manager in the afternoon to allow him to question my colleague from YAS to further his knowledge about the scheme and how we can improve the experience for future grads coming to NWAS.
Thursday morning sees me travel to Bolton where I work on my projects in the morning. My current projects involve producing a live dashboard for the 999 supervisors to use when giving feedback to the call handlers (Emergency Medical Dispatchers), a project based around recruitment ensuring we are at our required staffing levels, and driving an Action Plan and Action Tracker based on performance. This Action Plan is based on improving our 999 call answering times and our ambulance dispatch times – and therefore improving patient outcomes.
I then travel to Bolton Thursday afternoon for a flexi-placement event ran by the North West Leadership Academy. As part of the scheme, you get a 2 month flexi-placement with a company of your choice – and this event is designed to help inform us of how that process works, and also gives us an idea of what placements are out there. It is also a good chance to network with current grads, leadership staff and Graduate Scheme alumni.
Friday I travel up to Preston for our Departmental Performance Review meeting. Being placed at NWAS there is a lot of travel involved due to the organisation being so vast geographically. At the performance review I present how the action log is progressing, take minutes and update the log as various members of the team give their updates.
In the afternoon I then take some time out for academic work. The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (EGA) programme is great for developing your leadership skills but it can be tough to fit it in sometimes alongside the day job. I round off the week by having a last check of my emails to make sure i’ve missed nothing urgent over the past 3 days, and add any finishing touches that are needed to the projects I am working on before signing off for the weekend.