Alice Guggenheim: ''The variety of placements helps you decide where you want to work in the future.'''

by Alice Guggenheim

03 February 2016

West Midlands Graduate Trainee

Intake: September 2014
Location: ​Birmingham

After finishing my degree in Psychology with a Year in Computer Science at the University of Birmingham it was with a degree of trepidation, due to my lack of finance experience, that I started on the scheme in September 2014.

However I quickly realised that if anything this was advantageous. I joined the ​finance team at Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust where I have been part of a management accounts team. As part of my regular responsibilities I get the opportunity to attend monthly budget meetings with budget holders, get involved in month end accounts, raise invoices and chase outstanding payments.

I also take part in more ad-hoc work involving multi-disciplinary team working including a costing project of Gynaecology services and a print tender project. This not only allows me to familiarise myself with a variety of different departments within the hospital but also gives me the opportunity to meet with staff members from other areas.

Whilst in my placement I have also been on what we call an orientation, shadowing members of different departments within the hospital. These included Haematology, Blood Bank, Cashiers and Outpatients. In areas where I wasn't able to shadow a department at the trust, I had the opportunity to gain this experience in other hospitals including South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust where I conducted an internal audit. The variety of placements and opportunities within NHS organisations is particularly advantageous as it helps you decide where you may or may not want to work in the future.

Through the scheme I have also been to a number of events/training days outside my placement including an introduction to finance, student conference, Excel training, HFMA West Midlands annual conference, forecasting and financial modelling and an event from the Stronger Together series.

On top of external events I also attend college once or twice a week at Kaplan in Birmingham city centre. So far I have completed CIMA Certificate Level and have just completed my first exam in the operational level. Kaplan is not only a great place to learn but also gives you the chance to catch up with other people on the scheme and learn from each other’s experiences.
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