Jim Pollitt – Associate Director of Education, Learning and Development

Jim PollittDeveloping skills and knowledge is essential if you wish to enjoy a satisfying career. Leading ambitions for staff and the local community served by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust is Associate Director of Education, Learning and Development Jim Pollitt.

Striving to find opportunities for staff in the hospitals and people in the local community to be a success, Jim, 51 explains:  “My role is to ensure all the staff in the organisation have the appropriate knowledge and skills to carry out their role effectively and safely. Also I make sure all staff have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge to progress on their career pathway.”

Jim spent the early part of his career in the army, where he progressed from trainee to instructor in trade and military skills. He continued: “The part I enjoyed most was teaching people something and then watching them be successful. I wanted to continue this career when I came out of the army.”

Jim joined SWB three years ago, and when he arrived the Trust only employed two 16-18 year olds with 25 people on apprenticeships. Under Jim’s influence, now there are 62 16-19 year olds on apprenticeships and 70 permanent staff under 19.

A highlight of his time at the Trust was winning the Health Service Journal award for Workforce for ‘The Learning Works’ which is a project that uses an innovative approach to engaging the local community and helping them find employment in the Trust. Jim said: “It helps us to influence and guide people into their chosen career, but also make sure that these people are training with appropriate ethics, ethos and values that reflect our organisation, and we know we are getting people with the right attitudes and behaviours that satisfy our employment needs.”

His next big challenge is a project offering accommodation and apprenticeships with the offer of future employment, to young homeless people. This includes accommodation at Sandwell Hospital which looks set to open in the first week of December. This has been achieved at no extra cost to the Trust. Jim commented: “This project will allow us to do something to get lots of young people out of homelessness, off benefits and into employment. To see the expression of excitement on the face of a person who has been told they have secured a permanent job makes projects like this so worthwhile.”

Despite his great results, Jim remains committed to developing the skills and knowledge of people in the Sandwell area. He said: “I enjoy my work, I enjoy leading the team I work with and I enjoy the challenges that get thrown at me on a day to day basis. I care about all Trust staff from administrators to those who are looking after the patients. By doing my job well, I can be confident in knowing that the staff have the knowledge and skills to do their jobs well.”

Away from work, Jim has sea legs and green fingers as he is a keen sea and course fisherman, and enjoys the good life in his allotment growing fruit and vegetables which he turns into jams and preserves.