Annex U Success!

11 August 2015

Zed, Sarah and Kymm

Zed, Sarah and Kymm

An innovative graduate training programme at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) has been hailed a huge success by some of the first to take part.

The trust’s Annex U master’s scheme was launched two years ago by executive director of delivery, Tim Jones, to allow employees to work towards a master’s degree while at the same time gaining work experience within the Trust.

Sarah Rogers, Kymm Skidmore and Zohur ‘Zed’ Miah were among the first intake in the Research and Development department and are all about to successfully complete their studies having already landed Band 7 jobs at the Trust.

Sarah, aged 27, of Coventry, already had one master’s in molecular pathology and toxicology from University of Leicester and had been working as a dispensing chemist for Boots when she spotted the Annex U post on NHS Jobs.

“I had been looking for something more relevant to what I had studied,” she said.

“Giving up a permanent job and taking a pay cut to do this was a risk for me. Like any contracted work, we weren’t promised anything at the end of the two years, but the management always kept us informed of new potential opportunities and thankfully it has paid off.

“The team here have been very supportive and I can’t thank them enough for all the help they’ve given me.”

Recruits to the scheme take a Band 4 job on a two-year contract at 70 percent pay, rising to 75 percent in their second year, but in return the Trust pays for them to undertake a master’s course in any health-related subject and gives them 15 study days off per year.

Kymm, aged 35, of Edgbaston, was a sports science graduate from the University of Worcester and did a conversion course in law before working for a number of years as a legal executive.

She said: “I had been looking into doing a master’s degree for some time. I could have completed it full time in 12 months, but how was I going to pay the fees and afford to live during that time?”

“Doing it this way, for the fees to be paid up front for you, with support from your employer, and to be able to get work experience in the health service at the same time is a great opportunity.”

“Working full-time and studying part-time has been hard but the time goes really quickly and it has definitely been worth it.”

Sarah has been working towards a clinical oncology master’s while Kymm has been studying Public Health.

Zed, a 24-year-old psychology graduate from Coventry University, lives in Washwood Heath and is about to complete a Health Psychology master’s.

“I always wanted to go on to do a health psychology master’s and was working two jobs to save up when I saw this opportunity on NHS Jobs,” he said.

“I was struggling to raise the money for a course. Doing it this way takes off that financial pressure, you don’t have to think about it.”

Sarah and Kymm have already started their new jobs as an ENT/audiology project manager and Umbrella Sexual Health Services project assistant respectively while Zed is about to take up a research associate’s post in liver research.

Research business manager Helen Hunt said: “Kymm, Sarah and Zed are perfect examples of just what can achieved through Annex U. They’ve all landed Band 7 jobs and hopefully have bright futures in the trust.”