Amélie Bages, Head of Mental Health Delivery- NHS England & NHS Improvement
What: I work at NHS England, the organisation that leads the NHS in England. My role involves defining the strategy for mental health and then supporting planning and delivery across local health systems. I love my current role as it’s very varied and involves strategy, financial modelling, team work, programme management and working with ministers. It feels stretching and meaningful on a daily basis!
Why: I decided early on in my career that I wanted to do something to enhance access to universal healthcare. The NHS is a tremendous place to do this: it’s a great feeling to be part of a team of more than 1 million staff all working to achieve something we really believe in. You can also project yourself working in the NHS for an entire career: you can work anywhere in England, and move across a wide variety of roles ranging from finance and strategy to policy, operations and digital.
Career Path: After graduating, I went travelling, and then applied to management consultancies so I could learn a broad range of skills quickly. I first got a job in a niche consultancy mostly working with the NHS and then joined NHS England.
Getting In: Joining the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme, but also a more general management consulting experience, can be great ways to fast-track your career in the NHS. The NHS management is also full of people with diverse backgrounds from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, so you can succeed here with any past experience or start with an entry-level job.
Tom Spearman, House Staff Management Trainee at Swire
What: After a fantastic 4 week induction program in Hong Kong alongside 11 other new starters, I was immediately seconded to the shipping division in Singapore. As a management trainee, my role currently involves learning as much as I can about the organisation, focused mainly on the commercial side of things. My work involves several small projects within the company, such as working closely with executives to monitor the performance of different trade regions, managing relationships with some key partners and as part of our current push to be more digital, I am developing data reports that are being used across the whole organisation. Training also included visiting our largest market, Papua New Guinea, and returning to Singapore by a 2 week sea passage on board a container ship.
Why: It is a unique opportunity to get posted around Asia (and the world) from day one of graduation. I’m developing business and leadership skills on the job, and learning about Asian economies from a unique perspective. As a market leader in several smaller countries, I can see what is going in and out and really understand how these countries work. While there are certainly disadvantages to being so far from home, it is great fun and every minute is a learning opportunity.
During university I thought I wanted to work in management consulting, though once I received a few offers I decided it wasn’t for me. I wanted to work for a company that had a longer term outlook, with a really positive ethos where I am seen as a long term project to nurture, rather than a resource to extract for a few years. I wanted to be in a role that would allow me to have an opinion, and to be a position to influence the company.
As a Chemist, I also wanted to understand how things really work and felt that an in –depth exposure to a particular industry was more satisfactory that scratching the surface in consulting.