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What is it like as a work experience student?

South London and Maudsley Learning and Development Team offers week-long work experience placements throughout the year for young people aged between 16 and 18 in full time education. Placements take place in a range of clinical and non-clinical teams, such as psychiatry, psychology, nurse education, communications, estates and occupational therapy.

They offer work experience to inspire people and support pathways into healthcare careers. The aim is to provide interesting and meaningful placements that offer insight into daily life in a range of health-related careers. They primarily accept applicants from local schools that satisfy widening participation criteria.

The NHS Careers Untapped podcast is a useful resource to find out about the range of careers on offer in the health service.

Have you ever wondered what being a work experience student at South London and Maudsley is like? My name is Shri, and I'm excited to share my experience with you. I'm currently working in the communication and engagement department, where we keep patients, staff, and the public informed about all the amazing work happening at the hospital to improve patient care and engage with the local community.

I came here to improve my communication skills and learn more about working in the healthcare industry, hoping to become a doctor in the NHS. But my work experience has been so much more than that! I've gained valuable insights into how the hospital operates, from clinical communication towards patients to the use of the social media, newsletters, and blog pages that the Trust has. I've even had the opportunity to shadow one of the members of the Anchor Institution Team and learn about upcoming events aimed at resolving health inequalities.

My time here has been truly eye-opening, and I'm grateful for the chance to learn and grow in such a supportive environment and for the teamwork of events that are upcoming to resolve issues such as health inequalities that patients face.

In the middle of the week, I had the pleasure of meeting some new members from other programmes, like South London Listens. We had some really interesting discussions on ways to reduce the risk of mental health crises and how to solve some of the challenges that trusts are facing, like work and wages. I was able to attend some shadowing sessions and chat with some of the other coordinating team members to hear about the progress of the programme and their future goals.

Later on, I met with some external team members of the department and learned all about how they communicate with patients through social media, newsletters, and other channels. It was really fascinating to see the work that goes into creating blogs that can reach out to students seeking work experience in places like these trusts. Through this experience, I gained a real understanding of the effort and dedication that goes into providing services to patients and service users.

I spoke to other work experience students about their placements too. Saneeka who completed her placement at the same time as me said: 

I really enjoyed the whole programme thoroughly as I was able to shadow various different aspects. However, personally, I really enjoyed observing the Seni Lewis training session. This is because it was hands-on and had a really strong motive behind it and a very tragic story.

However, it was extremely insightful to see how things are adapting this rapidly and how preventative measures are being taken to avoid any situations such as this to repeat.

Towards the end of the week, I had the sessions on job skills where, I gained a wider understanding of how to prepare for interviews and create an outstanding CV that showcases my expertise, hobbies, and achievements. I learned about the importance of tailoring my CV to the job I'm applying for and how to highlight my unique strengths and experiences. Additionally, I learned about the importance of networking and how to make connections with people in my desired field.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed these sessions and found them to be incredibly beneficial. As a result, I gained a wider understanding of how to prepare for interviews and create an outstanding CV that showcases my expertise, hobbies, and achievements. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed these sessions and was able to develop not only the skills I had anticipated but also new ones such as planning and coordinating communication. With these skills, I feel confident that I can pursue the career of my dreams. I would like to thank the whole communication and engagement team as well as the Trust for giving me this opportunity it was truly insightful.

Shri, work experience student, October 2023

Work experience placements will be hosted at our Trust in April, May and July 2024 across a range of clinical and non-clinical teams. We accept applications from young people aged between 16 and 18 in full time education for a week placement. Please contact  workforcedevelopment@slam.nhs.uk  if you are interesting in applying.  

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