NHS membership body launches first comms traineeship

NHS Providers, which represents hospital, mental health, community and ambulance trusts in England, has taken on its first communications trainee - a move it hopes will provide a solid foundation for a career in NHS communications and prompt change across the NHS.

Bethan Edwards is the first comms trainee NHS Providers has recruited
Bethan Edwards is the first comms trainee NHS Providers has recruited

Bethan Edwards, who has a degree in English language in the media and an MA in public relations, was taken on last month.

NHS Providers director of comms Adam Brimelow said: "This is an entry-level role where Bethan will have the opportunity to support the team’s activities across digital and social media, media relations, marketing, publishing, branding, member communications and events."

Breaking new ground

During the year-long traineeship Edwards will be given support and training to play a full part in a busy, integrated comms team, Brimelow explained.

Her duties will range from planning, scheduling and delivering content for the website, newsletters and social media to keeping the organisation’s comms data and information channels up to date.

In addition, Edwards will help co-ordinate marketing activity for the annual events programme.

"We will ensure that Bethan can attend relevant training courses and will fund her CIPR membership. We will also arrange placements for her with NHS Trust communications teams," Brimelow told PRWeek.

"The plan is that by the end of the 12-month placement Bethan will have a wide-ranging set of skills and experiences providing a strong foundation for a successful career in NHS communications."

More to follow

Edwards is expected to be the first of many such trainees.

Brimelow said: "This is our first appointment to support what we hope will become a wider network of communications traineeships, working in close partnership with colleagues at NHS trusts, to provide a new and exciting path into NHS communications."

The decision to recruit a comms trainee reflects a wider issue and is part of a longer-term drive to promote recognition of the strategic value of communications in the NHS.

Earlier this year, Ranjeet Kaile, director of comms and stakeholder engagement at South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust, urged fellow NHS leaders to increase diversity across the organisation and to "create a ladder for young people who are rich in talent but poor in connections".

Brimelow said: "We need to generate development opportunities that will make people want to join our profession, helping to open it up to people with a range of different backgrounds and experiences, right at the start of their career."

He added: "We want to play a full part in establishing a wider NHS communications traineeship that will offer a grounding in our profession to a new cohort of talented communicators."


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