Senior Assessment Manager
John started his career in a private scientific consultancy and then spent many years working on the technical side and in management within NHS laboratories. John worked for Clinical Pathology Accreditation (UK) Ltd for a number of years before joining UKAS in 2013. His career journey through biomedical science into quality management and the accreditation of medical laboratories has seen many changes, all of which have driven the quality and improvement of processes for hospital laboratories.
What do you enjoy about working for UKAS?
As a Senior Assessment Manager and Trainer, my role is varied, and I enjoy the interaction with many different people; our UKAS staff, customers, training delegates, and working in the many varied workstreams and projects, decision making and managing staff. No two days are the same. I gain personal satisfaction from helping customers to progress in their accreditation journey and helping staff to develop their own skills and knowledge.
What made you go into training?
During my professional career and in my many outside interests and activities, I have always developed and nurtured my interest in training and the promotion of biomedical science. The first training I became involved with was in First Aid and as an observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, which developed a different set of training skills.
Those first encounters as a trainer set the scene for me, when I realised that training was a very rewarding experience. I have been active in educating and developing scientific and support staff, including developing and delivering NVQ courses. I have gone on to actively promote pathology to a wider audience within the NHS and have been involved in the education of both medical and nursing staff. I continued with design and delivery of First Aid at Work (FAW) courses whilst working in the NHS and worked with the Occupational Health team to provide courses for staff.
I have tutored courses for the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS), been a training/portfolio assessor for the former Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine (CPSM) and then the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS), been a panel member for the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and been a lay board member for the Northern Deanery involved with post-graduate medical education. I have also presented at local and national meetings on both scientific and management themes. Since working for CPA and then UKAS, I present on quality and accreditation themes.
On joining UKAS, it was a natural progression for me to become involved with training again.
What do you most enjoy about being a Trainer?
We are sometimes the first person to introduce a subject or process to an individual or an organisation and it is a responsibility but also a privilege to be able to shape someone’s thinking. Helping an Assessment Manager at the start of their career and then supporting them as they develop and grow in knowledge and experience is rewarding. It is also fulfilling to help a customer understand quality management concepts and why they do what they do to apply ISO Standards – that lightbulb moment when they “get it” is one of the most enjoyable feelings from training.
Tell us about a funny experience in one of the training courses you delivered…
Role play is a part of some of our training courses, this can involve the trainers taking on particular characters to emphasise points and acting out scenarios. Of course, trainers enter into this with enthusiasm and there is sometimes a degree of banter between trainers, such that delight is taken to make the other trainer “corpse” (as they say in thespian circles and means bursting into uncontrollable laughter). I was making a training video some time ago now. However, it needed 23 takes for me to get past a particular point in the script. After that, I have every sympathy with film makers and the amount of “film” that ends up on the cutting room floor. On another occasion, I had a similar “corpsing” experience whilst acting out a scenario during an ISO 15189 course.
Where do you see your career going?
Over the last few years, I have become more involved with training and development and as the Healthcare sector expands within UKAS, I see myself taking an active role in that journey. I can contribute by supporting new assessment managers and technical assessors as well as helping external customers get the most from their accreditation experience. There is much interest and opportunity for UKAS to support healthcare organisations in a commercial market globally and we welcome the opportunity to be involved with that.
Finally, tell us about some of your interests and/or hobbies…
When not working, I have a passion for all things “trains, planes, automobiles and motorcycles” and can be found at heritage railways or practicing advanced driving techniques both in cars, or on one of my collection of motorcycles. I have a private pilot’s licence, although spiralling costs and time constraints have curtailed that pursuit for the time being. It is something that I am sure I will pick up again in the future, though I may well need a period of refresher training and study. I also have a project to eventually start to restore an MGF car. Recent world events though have curtailed active pursuit of many of these interests until life returns to normality (whatever that looks like).