MEDICAL EQUIPMENT: Stephanie Connelly shows eager pupils some of the equipment found in a doctor’s surgery
MEDICAL EQUIPMENT: Stephanie Connelly shows eager pupils some of the equipment found in a doctor’s surgery

BRITAIN’S biggest and the world’s fifth largest employer was in town recently to give out career advice to dales youngsters.

NHS officers where at Teesdale Academy as part of an event to promote the wide variety of career opportunities the they have to offer. They had brought with them their Mobile Educational Learning Improving Simulation and Safety Activities (Melissa) bus.

Peter Blakeman, of the NHS, explained: “Melissa’s role is to promote educational and innovative training around the region.

“We have been using the converted double decker bus since the beginning of the year but this is the first time we have taken it into a school.”

Event organiser, Teesdale Academy teacher, Yannick Thorez, said: “It is very important for our pupils to plan what they want to study. Having the NHS come to the school to talk about the career options available in the NHS allows our pupils to really think about their futures and plan their options accordingly.”

The NHS employs 1.7million people in the UK.

Mr Blakeman said: “Not all our employees are doctors, dentists and nurses. We have career openings for all sorts of people; builders, plumbers, designers, administrators, the list goes on.”

Children from Cotherstone Primary School joined the pupils from Teesdale Academy to look at the wide ranging aspects involved in modern day healthcare.

There was an opportunity for pupils to learn about basic life support and to practice their CPR skills on a manikin.

Stephanie Connelly, from the Old Forge Surgery in Middleton-in-Teesdale, was on hand to explain the importance of health care in the community.

Between trying their hand at bandaging and looking at the inner workings of the human body there was also time to take a look at Melissa.

Downstairs pupils were shown how an interest in geography is of interest to the NHS, while upstairs they were told that an interest in gaming might have benefits for the NHS.

The pupils took part in a workshop designed to show them the challenges of planning in such a large organisation.

Mr Blakeman explained: “Geography is important to the NHS in logistical planning. We have to deliver a huge range of services across the UK so we have to have people who can plan resources accordingly.

The hand-eye coordination required for gaming is a transferable skill because of keyhole surgery. To provide the best care and to perform some surgical procedures surgeons have to work together and communicate.”

In the future it is hoped to take Melissa out to more rural schools to show other youngsters what job opportunities exist within the NHS.