From Great Gatsby to the NHS

Written by Penny Gibbs on .

After finishing university I found myself in the place most graduates find themselves in; what do I do now? How do I progress from an undergraduate English and History student who barely is able to make sure all her clothes are clean and only had five contact hours a week; to being an adult in the world of work? At university I was fortunate enough to stumble upon something I really found a passion for and that was organising events. These were purely for the dance society, my other passion in life, but the question was how to follow up this experience into the ‘real’world.

The ‘real’world of events actually turned out to be far larger than I ever could have imagined. I started to become bombarded with the variety of the events sector; to name a few would be: event logistics (even down to the carpet contractors), large scale outdoor event organisers (even including liaising with the council to ensure road closures), and finally smaller internal events (of which I thought I had some experience in). It was investigating the last of this, not very comprehensive list, that meant I found myself doing work experience in a communications and engagement team.

When thinking of events as a student, like most who pursue a career in this industry, I was sold on the glamour. The idea of promoting glamorous wine festivals, glittering awards ceremonies or gatsby esq parties was one on which I was firmly invested. Where I found myself was doing work experience in the NHS. Not quite the same level of glamour as i’d dreamed of but I went in with an open mind. On the final day of working with the Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) I can firmly state that what I left with was an invaluable experience.

The NHS is an extremely important and large organisation which needs to promote a lot of information to the whole of the British population in order to provide the care they look for in their hour of need. However, the only way in which the organisation is able to do this is by working as one cohesive unit. This was the focus of the Wolverhampton CCG during this week as they looked forward to their Staff Away Day at the end of the week which was the main thing I was lucky enough to assist in organising.

As part of the communications and engagement team I was handed over what was left to do in organising the Away Day. This meant that I was responsible for putting together the presentation, collating the sign in sheets, creating an inventory of things to take to the venue, utilising the admin team for access to materials and liaising with the venue to make sure everything was in place for the day. The first task was the one that meant interacting with the senior executives, responsible for delivering the presentation, to ensure they made time in their jam-packed schedules to think about their slides and what exactly they were going to say. This highlighted to me just how important a team structure is when trying to achieve anything. No man is an island.

Everything that I did during my time with the CCG formed the basis for what I hope to do in the future. The organisation of any event has the same roots however many facets the actual event has to it. I cannot thank the communications and engagement team enough for all the help they have given me during this week. They have shown me that whatever the task think about every angle of it and always have a plan b, maybe even a plan c.

Sitting at the back of the room as the powerpoint presentation runs smoothly with everyone signed in, sat at the right table and the executives able to give their presentations without any technical difficulties, I am extremely proud to say I was part of the behind the scenes of this event. All the behind the scenes work means that the staff are able receive this day just as planned in order to create a better running organisation. This, in turn, translates to a better experience for patients across Wolverhampton. I am one proud, if small, part of that. 

Charlotte Hibbs

Charlotte completed a weeks work experience at Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group.  She plans to move to London to complete an internship in event management and sponsorship - we all wish her good luck for her future.

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