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Musgrove Park therapy radiographers win award for inspiring future generations - 03 February 2020

Musgrove Park therapy radiographers win award for inspiring future generations - 03 February 2020

Two Somerset therapy radiographers have scooped a prestigious national award for the way they are inspiring young people to consider a career in radiotherapy and the NHS.

Shannon Johnson and Naman Julka-Anderson, who work at Musgrove Park Hospital’s Beacon Centre, have spent the last six months visiting schools and colleges across Somerset to raise awareness of how children and young people can get into the field of radiotherapy.

The Beacon Centre is a well-respected centre for assessment, diagnosis and treatment for people in Somerset who have cancer.

Naman said: “We have been going into schools to encourage people to consider a career in the NHS and the reaction from children and teachers has been really good.

“So far we’ve seen about 5,000 people in just six months and we’ve been approached by schools at all age ranges, including primary schools, for us to come in to give a careers talk.”

Shannon said: “We’re so pleased with the great reaction we’ve had from teachers and we are hoping to be able to give them training sessions in the near future so they can include radiotherapy in science lessons.

“We’re particularly interested in speaking to young people in the final year of secondary school, and those in college, so we can give them a guiding hand before they start considering university choices.”

They recently travelled to the House of Lords and came home with the Inspirational Science, Technology, Engineer and Mathematics (STEM) Employer award for being part of a team that created an exciting work experience programme at the hospital.

The STEM awards celebrate extraordinary individuals and organisations that inspire young people to pursue the teaching and learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

While the awards are usually won by massive engineering companies, such as Siemens, Network Rail and Fujitsu, the judges said they were particularly impressed with Musgrove Park’s radiotherapy department.

“Facing a 33% decrease in students and a national shortage of radiographers, the radiotherapy team at Musgrove Park Hospital wanted to look at ways to improve awareness of careers in radiotherapy,” judges said.

“They sought out the STEM Ambassadors programme and reached out to schools across Somerset, creating an excellent programme of work experience and enrichment days for students.

“These proved so popular that they had twice as many applications as there were places to fill.

“We were very pleased to give this award to the hospital’s radiotherapy department which has shown great initiative to address the problem of a STEM skills shortage.”