From education to employment

Health and Social Care students hear from industry professionals

Barnsley College students with Lauren Jaques (left), Physician Associate (PA) student at the University of Leeds, as part of Health and Social Care Industry Week.

Barnsley College students had the opportunity to hear from a range of industry experts and healthcare professionals through interactive workshops, presentations and activities as part of Health and Social Care Industry Week.

Industry Weeks are an initiative created by the College’s Enterprise department in order to raise students’ awareness of the career opportunities in their field of study.

Holly Kniazewycz, Specialist Orthoptist at Royal Hallamshire Hospital Sheffield, was among the first of the guest speakers in College. Holly explained her role as an Orthoptist and described her day-to-day life in the hospital. Holly went on to discuss the skills and attributes required to work in ophthalmology from manual dexterity, attention to detail and problem solving to interpersonal and communication skills, empathy and organisation.

Students then heard from Lauren Jaques, final year Physician Associate (PA) student at the University of Leeds. Lauren explained her journey to becoming a PA and spoke in detail about the varying courses at degree-level that provide the best route into this specific occupation. She touched on the advantages of becoming a PA, including the flexibility to work across different roles in various departments without the need to retrain. Lauren also hosted an interactive session with the students to diagnose a theoretical Accident and Emergency patient.

Claire Knight, Workforce Lead at Barnsley’s Clinical Commissioning Group, was also on the panel. Claire, who has worked in the NHS for 26 years, discussed with students the importance of self-reflection, being positive about criticism and feedback and gaining experience as well as qualifications. She also shared interview tips with students which were particularly helpful for those hoping to work in the healthcare system including being pro-active, visiting prospective places of work and building good relationships and networks with people in the industry.

Julia Davies, Enterprise and Talent United Officer at Barnsley College, helped organise the week’s events and said:

“We are so grateful to all visitors who participated in our Health and Social Care Industry Week. By sharing their expertise with students, our guests become influential in their future paths. Many students and staff thoroughly enjoyed the week and I am already looking forward to next year’s event!”

Students also heard from Dr Anna Machin, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist; Kerry Lawton and Tracey Hutchinson-Green, Beacon South Yorkshire; Kelly Tyres, Pharmacist; Adele Jagucki, Specialist Physiotherapist; Simone Critchlow, Health Economist and Analyst; The Medical Mavericks; and Anna Rydelewski, Speech and Language Therapist.

Barnsley College’s Enterprise department encourages students to explore industries and job prospects whilst they are studying as well as supporting students to develop their entrepreneurial skills and talents outside of their studies. The department offers opportunities for students to improve their communication, teamwork, problem solving and creativity skills and provides support to those who are setting up a business.

For more information about any of the Health, Science and Social Care courses available at Barnsley College, visit

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