Female engineers making things happen at South Shields hospital

Hospital bosses in South Tyneside are inspiring the scientific workforce of the future

Britney Jarvis, left, and Katherine Jones who are blazing a trail at South Tyneside Hospital
Britney Jarvis, left, and Katherine Jones who are blazing a trail at South Tyneside Hospital

Katherine Jones and Britney Jarvis are blazing a trail for female NHS biomedical engineering apprentices with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust

The Trust - and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust - is promoting Healthcare Science Week to celebrate and raise awareness of healthcare science and holding events, in partnership with the University of Sunderland, where school pupils can find out more about careers and the university courses available.

Nineteen-year-olds Katherine and Britney are believed to be two of only three young women currently on the NHS biomedical engineering apprentice programme in the region.

Katherine is in the third year of the four-year apprenticeship and Britney is in the second year.

Their job involves maintaining and managing medical equipment - simple nebulisers for respiratory patients to sophisticated technology used in patient monitoring and life support.

Both work at South Tyneside District Hospital.

Katherine attends Tyne Metropolitan College in North Tyneside and Britney attends South Tyneside College in South Shields one day a week.

Katherine said: “My dad had joined the NHS as an electrician apprentice when he was the same age as me and that gave me the idea. I didn’t know what biomedical engineering was but it sounded really interesting.

“It’s an area of the NHS that most people aren’t aware of but it is so important.”

Britney added: “I really love the job because it’s so varied. Every day is different and you’re constantly learning and it is very rewarding to be part of the team at South Tyneside who have been very welcoming and supportive.”

Mike Cox, Head of biomedical engineering at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Katherine and Britney have fitted into the team really well and we have high hopes for them as their apprenticeships progress.

“Traditionally, women have not entered the field of biomedical engineering in great numbers but, hopefully, this is now changing. Biomedical engineering is essential to so many health services and, with advances in technology and an ever-growing demand for cutting-edge medical equipment, it is an expanding field which presents increasing job opportunities.”