AQA Tech IT NHS visit

Posted In Academic

Starting in September this year, the Tech IT (T Level) Level 3 Course in IT has been a great addition to the suite of subjects on offer in the Sixth Form. Unlike the traditional A level, Tech IT is geared towards more practical applications which would be suitable for both university and apprenticeships. The modular course allows pupils to not only be assessed through external examinations but also through internal coursework components as well. The subject still lends itself to the same scoring system as the A level with the UCAS points directly mapping with it.  

On Friday 30th November, the Year 12 Tech IT pupils, Head of Computer Science, Sherrick Hamilton, and Systems Manager, Gareth Williams, embarked on a first industrial visit to Pembury Hospital. We were met by Sue, Head of Digital Programmes for the trust, who along with Nick, General Manager Acute Medicine and A&E and Darren, Acting Head of IT, made up the team of professionals who talked to us and toured us around the site.  

The pupils had lots of questions to ask the staff about the functionality of the technology in the hospital from big projects such as rolling out new software and hardware across the trust to smaller issues such as replacing remote controls for TVs. It was incredible to learn how much came under the remit of the IT team at the hospital and how many teams are involved to maintain the system. An important question, asked by Lucas, was about how they upgraded their software when it is used all the time. The answer was: it was very difficult! We learnt the best time to do any upgrades is on a Wednesday at 1am. It also takes on average eight months from report submission to installation of upgrades within a hospital and even then, they could still be behind due to the fast pace advancement of technology.  

We had an exclusive opportunity to look at the server room of the hospital and see how it is maintained and what risk assessments are in place to prevent a myriad of problems. We had a chance to visit A&E, to see how systems were being used and look at how they have started to embrace newer technologies such as iPads and keeping electrical records of vital signs.  

For our first industrial visit, looking at how large systems in big businesses operate, this was definitely a great experience. Thanks to the three members of staff who supported us at the hospital and it was great to keep the door open for any future work placements and opportunities.  

We are still looking for more companies to visit in the future! It can be from any sector of industry and I am keen for anyone to get in touch with Sherrick Hamilton for potential visits, interviews, talks or placements.