Gavin is a health, safety and security coordinator at a hospital. He explains why he likes his job - and how he doesn't let his dyslexia hold him back.
Name: Gavin Taylor
Company: The Priory group, Kemple View, Psychiatric Hospital
Industry: Healthcare and medicine
Job role: Health, safety and security coordinator
Length of time in role: Three years in current position; worked at Kemple View for 21 years as a senior health care worker
High school: City & Guilds foundation in engineering
NVQ level 3 promoting independence
NCFE level 2 Team leading
CIEH level 3 preparing to teach in the lifelong learning sector
Currently 1 year into the level 3 Apprenticeship, Facilities management supervisor through Qube Learning.
1. What was your very first job?
At 16 I left school and tried several different jobs from the army, then builders labour and self-employed window cleaner but then found full time employment as a leisure attendant / lifeguard for the local council. I’d always been active in sport and gained qualifications through local clubs which gave me the opportunity to apply for the position.
2. What did you want to do when you were at school?
To be honest the main thing I wanted to do whilst in school was leave. At the time I was in education, dyslexia was not recognised. So I was placed in (what was termed at the time) ‘remedial classes’ which did not challenge me and did nothing for my self-esteem.
3. How did you find out about the industry?
After working as a leisure attendant / lifeguard for five years I had the opportunity to work abroad as an outdoor pursuits instructor, working in the USA, Kenya and a few countries across Europe for nearly 10 years.
One year, I decided to come home for Christmas and needed to make some extra cash, so I signed on with a nursing agency who then sent me to cover some shifts at Kemple View Hospital. After covering shifts for approximately six months, the hospital manager offered me a full time position. Twenty-one years later I’m still here!
4. How did you get to where you are today?
Working as a senior health care worker gave me the training, skills and confidence to apply for, complete and pass a variety of different qualifications and roles within the hospital, from taking lead on the wards as health, safety and security champion to tutor in first aid, conflict resolution and physical interventions. Then a position became available for health, safety and security coordinator for the whole site. I was offered the position on a trail basic, because of my experience, and after proving myself I was offered a full time position.
5. What is a typical day like?
There is no such thing as a typical day in the environment I work in, although I have a normal working routine. I start at 8am and finish at 4pm- ish! I check my email, answer questions / queries from the ward staff, monitoring, auditing and dissemination of information regarding accidents, incidents and near misses, followed by taking relevant steps to prevent reoccurrence.
Arranging regular risk assessments of all areas of the hospital and overseeing the actions from these by evaluating the effectiveness. Completing regular health & safety audits throughout the Hospital and overseeing the actions. Contribute information, findings and alerts in Health & safety forums at local and regional levels
6. What’s the best thing about your job?
7. What is the most challenging thing about your job?
For me, it’s the report writing. I’ve never let my dyslexia hold me back or used it as an excuse but I do like to get things right and I sometimes give myself a hard time when I have made a mistake, especially if I’m presenting the information or report.
8. What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?
Currently I have found the apprenticeship programme through Qube learning to be one the most useful courses I have done in relation to the work I do.
9. What’s the number-one most important transferable skill needed for your job?
Communication would probably be one of the most important skills I use on a daily basis, whether is supporting staff from new starters to senior management, presenting information, sending out alerts, creating posters, chairing meetings and positive role modelling. Be friendly, approachable and available.
10. How did you develop your confidence at work?
Have a good knowledge base, i.e. know your subject. Nobody knows everything so if you don’t know an answer, don’t make it up: research, use your resources, team, managers or experts.
11. What do you wish you’d known before starting your career?
Every day is a learning day in this job and the day I stop learning is the day I’ll give it up.
12. Where would you like to be in five years?
Hopefully I’ll continue to progress in the company, maybe a regional health and safety advisor, manager or something similar.