How the careers team helped me find my role in the NHS

Alumni spotlight | Hayden Risdale, BA (Hons) Politics, Class of 2020


Hayden Risdale headshot

Hayden Risdale – NHS Graduate Scheme and now NHS Graduate Management Trainee at West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership. 

Tell us about your current role and what it involves

My official role and job title is Independent Review Lead. What that is may seem slightly unclear. So, for context, the Independent Review was a review into ethnicity-based inequalities facing both patients and colleagues, and there is a corresponding action plan to address the issues. My role is to coordinate delivery, working with various programme leaders, directors and organisations to ensure that we are delivering both immediately and sustainably over the long term for all people.

What organisation do you work for?

I work for the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership – and more broadly, the NHS. The Partnership brings together NHS organisations, local authorities and the voluntary sector to collaborate on improving healthcare and the lives of people across our region.

How did you find this job? 

I am currently on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme (GMTS), and specifically on the General Management stream. I do four roles during my two years on the scheme, and the one outlined above is the first of those. I found out about the GMTS at a careers talk in the first week of third year and was fully supported through the process from Georgina Larkin and the careers team. I applied in around October of 2019 and went through numerous tests for critical reasoning, numeracy skills etc. and eventually got to the Assessment Centre stage. This stage involved more tests and simulations to test your responses, interactions and how they align with NHS values.

What do you enjoy about your job the most?

I enjoy the general hustle and bustle in Westminster. Every day is never the same, a day can sometimes seem like a week in Politics, depending on the business of the day or reacting to headline news. The variety of work is very rare for someone starting out their career, and MPs offices do not have huge budgets so there is always work to do no matter what your level. I particularly enjoy speech writing and seeing my Members go up and deliver their speeches in the Chamber. It's a good feeling to know you have contributed to a debate, especially on the critical issues like funding for healthcare or schools in the local area. There is always a great social side to Parliament as well, it's a big part of the job, attending events and meeting with people from all over the country.  

 What skills that you learnt at university have you been able to apply in your role? 

The single biggest benefit for me has been my dissertation choice, and the technical skills and knowledge it afforded me. With the support of Dr Chris Byrne, I completed a dissertation analysing healthcare policy in the UK. This has set me up well to understand such a complex and ever-changing environment. The political nous that a Politics degree equipped me with is very useful. A complex environment brings politics into the equation and the NHS is no exception. Being able to navigate in a politically astute way is invaluable. The ability to analyse, think critically, challenge respectfully and distil complex information into a coherent narrative or argument are things I developed during university and use to this day. These skills have even given me an opportunity to contribute to some national pieces of work. And finally, a core component of GMTS is masters-level study – everything I learnt about academic practice, writing etc. is critical here.

What will your story be?

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BA (Hons)


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