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CCG chief nurse hopes to inspire pupils to become future nurses

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A senior nurse at a clinical commissioning group in Kent has launched an event designed to inspire young people to “follow in her footsteps” and join the nursing profession.

Students across Swale are to get a chance to explore a career in health after a brainwave from the area’s chief nurse, Gail Locock.

“We need to cultivate the NHS workforce for the future and we’re hoping this event can help us do that”

Gail Locock

Ms Locock, chief nurse at Swale Clinical Commissioning Group, grew up in the area asked her CCG to explore the idea of a health careers event for local schoolchildren.

As a result, with the help of Health Education England (HEE), the Explore Health careers festival is due to take place at Oasis Academy, Marine Parade, Sheerness on Wednesday 11 October.

Students from Swale secondary schools in Year 10 or sixth form are being invited to the free event, which will take place from 10am to 6pm. Parents and the wider community can attend from 4-6pm.

HEE and the CCG are currently working on plans for the day, which will include exhibits and interactive workshops as well as talks from health and social care professionals.

Ms Locock: “I lived on the Isle of Sheppey as a child and am aware that some young people lack life opportunities to allow them to reach their ambitions.

“I wanted to personally make a difference to their lives and as chief nurse realised that I could do this by encouraging them to consider a career in health,” she said.

“We’re hoping to attract up to 600 pupils from schools and youth groups throughout the day”

Mike Bailey

She noted that she was “inspired to become a nurse at the age of 16”, having worked for Age Concern as a carer and helped with hygiene and feeding needs.

“I met so many great people, one of whom was an ex-nurse,” she said. “Her stories of her days as a nurse used to make me think ‘that’s what I want to do with my life’. She was a real inspiration and remembered with great fondness.

“I’m hoping Explore Health will inspire others to follow in my footsteps,” said Ms Locock. “We need to cultivate the NHS workforce for the future and we’re hoping this event can help us do that.”

Mike Bailey, senior career progression programme manager for HEE in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, said: “We’re hoping to attract up to 600 pupils from schools and youth groups throughout the day.

“The aim of this event is to give young people the opportunity to meet with a variety of health and social care professionals to discover the diverse career opportunities available,” he noted.  

He added: “There will be interactive and inspiring workshops, career specific market stalls and lots of information and guidance on how to access jobs and gain a better understanding of the progression routes that lead to rewarding and stimulating local careers in health and social care.”

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