Spotlight on Talent – Garry Southwick
Studied: Pre-employment course with whg and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
Progression: Support services assistant role with Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
Garry hadn’t expected to be starting a new career with the NHS at the age of 66. He had worked for over five decades as an engineer within the steelmaking and forging industries, specialising in the testing and inspection of components for the petrochemical gas and oil industry. However, he was forced to bring his career to an end when his former employer went into administration and the pandemic struck.
Initially, Garry only considered applying for jobs he felt qualified to do. Then while claiming universal credit and scanning through vacancies, the opportunity with the NHS stood out for him. He attended an information session which was delivered by whg and Walsall College explaining in detail the job role, the college modules and how he could apply for the position.
“My wife had actually been doing this exact support services role for 17 years before she retired,” said Garry. “Already knowing a bit about the role from her made me think ‘why not?’”
Garry completed a two-week course coordinated by the NHS, whg and Walsall College. The course provides learners with a Level 2 health and hygiene qualification and included a one-day placement at Walsall Manor Hospital, shadowing a member of staff.
Since starting his role, Garry has been enjoying his new work routine and career.
“I don’t think my age has held me back from wanting to work and being motivated by what I do,” said Garry. “Having never worked in a hospital setting before, I have a new-found understanding of what my wife did.”
A typical work shift for Garry tends to involve him cleaning up to three theatres and one recovery area, along with the equipment.
“There is a new sense of pride in what I do each day,” he added. “It’s satisfying to close the door on a freshly cleaned theatre.”