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New blood is essential to NHS procurement to keep it modern and innovative – but how do you engage with young people who might never think of it as a career?

Dan Small, Associate Director of Procurement, Medway NHS Foundation Trust, has revealed that in Kent they find it incredibly hard to recruit new blood but he believes having a pool of people who are aware and interested in procurement can only help.

After a 25 year career in private and public sector procurement, Dan has become passionate about promoting the industry and reached out to educators he knew about speaking to their students and discussing the role.

He explained: “Before COVID I had approached my uncle who is a teacher at a school in London and suggested that I go in to his school and speak to the business students about it, then at my sons parents evening I spoke to his business teacher and proposed the same thing. Both schools were really interested but then COVID happened.”

More recently he has been speaking to his HR lead Summer Lovegrove about his plans and she invited him to speak to one of the schools she liaises with.

Dan and the team at MFT are now working on a programme to promote procurement and the wider back office functions.They are hoping to take it around schools in Kent and even hoping to work with the Kent FA as both Dan and Summerhave experience of working with children in a football environment who may want to know about career choices as they get older.

Dan added: “Basically we are just trying to target as many kids as possible to let them know that there are multiple careers in the NHS – not just doctors or nurses – and push procurement as an attractive option.”

HCSA Acting Chief Officer Simon Walsh said: “It’s always exciting to see fresh innovative minds come into NHS procurement and it’s essential that we do all we can to ensure that the pipeline of new talent remains open and refreshed on a regular basis. We fully support Dan in everything he is doing to make a difference here and commend his passion and commitment to the future of NHS procurement.”

HCSA would encourage others to follow Dan’s lead and spread the word on a career in procurement in your communities. We are happy to support wherever we can with promotional materials and investment when necessary.