And now for something different: What can a private sector flexi placement offer an NHS trainee?

Posted by: Madeleine Iredale - Posted on:

Hello and a massive welcome to the 2018 intake who are starting this month, how exciting!

A year down the road from being in that same position, I’m now in my flexi placement (an 8 week placement where trainees spend time in an organisation different to their planned NHS placements), in fact, I’m just at the end of my first week at Adnams Brewery in Southwold, Suffolk.

Choosing the right flexi placement was something that took a considerable amount of thought and time to organise. Trainees aren’t exactly limited on where they go, provided that they can demonstrate to the NHS Leadership Academy that the placement will be beneficial to the NHS and the trainee.

The first choice I had to make was ‘public or private sector?’. Considering my love of the NHS and my enthusiasm about its role as a public sector organisation, it would seem logical that I would pursue that sort of flexi placement to learn more about the field. However, I realised that what flexi placements offer are a unique, short-term opportunity to experience something totally different to your normal working life, providing the chance for you to make the most of your ‘transferable skills’ (and see whether they are actually transferable!) and broaden what experiences you are exposed to. I thought if not now, when? So I took the plunge and contacted an organisation that was as far away from the NHS imaginable – a brewery!

A week into my flexi at Adnams, I’ve realised that there are numerous differences between the two organisations I’ve worked in, but some similarities as well (ah-ha, that’s where those transferable skills come in!). Making money and driving sales is a completely alien concept to me, but ensuring cost effectiveness, value for money and great customer (or patient!) service is much more familiar ground. In this placement, I wanted to see whether private sector companies can do ‘responsible business’, which is why Adnams was really attractive. On their website, Adnams displays their company values that they’re committed to work to:

   ‘At Adnams, we want to make sure that our impact on society is a positive one.
Our company values are rooted in making great products without costing the earth. From working with local farmers and producers who supply our brewery and hotels, through to partnering with a local business to install an anaerobic digestion plant to turn brewery and food waste into biogas, we believe that doing the right thing makes great business sense.’

Sitting in the offices in the huge distribution centre, one of the most energy efficient buildings in the UK, it seems to me that they remain true to their values. Everywhere I look I can see efforts to minimize environmental impact whilst maximising commercial benefits too. From the sky garden on the roof which helps with insulation (reducing heating costs), to the recycled rainwater toilets and photo-voltaic cells which provide 80% of the hot water used, there’s a lot the NHS could learn from this building!

I could go on about this for pages, but for now, I’ll cut it short and get back to work. Leaving you with the image of Adnams’ home, the lovely Southwold.

P.s. Want to know more about flexi’s, the grad scheme, or top quality beer ?? Contact me on twitter @iredalemaddie

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