28/01/2019 | Press releases

Masterclasses open youngsters’ eyes to careers in healthcare


Potential surgeons of the future have been discovering what goes on in an operating theatre and the many roles that exist to make surgery a success for patients.

A series of masterclasses at the Iceni Centre, based on the Colchester Hospital site, are giving Year 9 pupils from schools in north Essex a unique insight into the Theatres department.
Topics being covered within the six sessions are:

  • An introduction to theatres and roles at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT)
  • Understanding the roles of anaesthetists, anaesthetic practitioners, surgeons, surgical practitioners, theatre support workers, diagnostic radiographers and recovery nurses
  • Taking the right steps to a career in healthcare.

St Benedict’s Catholic College pupils Isabella Ifeadike and Chanay Francis are both hoping to pursue careers in medicine.

Isabella said: “I think it’s really good because you get to see what it’s like to work in an operating theatre. There are so many different parts I didn’t know about.

“I would like to be a surgeon, but I’m not sure what type I want to be so that’s why it’s good to come here.”

Chanay said: “It opens your eyes, there are more roles than what you actually think and it gets you to realise there are so many roles you can play that help people.

“I wanted to be a doctor, but coming here has made me think more about being a surgeon. I think it could be more fulfilling.”

Chanay (left) with Isabella (right)


The Iceni Centre is an expanding venue, which has led the way in surgical training for the last 25 years, providing facilities for education in all areas of health and care.

Peter Cook, head of innovation at ESNEFT, said: “We could have done anything and it would have been good, but we wanted to pick something that had a connection with the Iceni Centre which is why we picked theatres.

“Hopefully this is the start of a wider engagement with local schools. We want to learn from this experience, which has been a good one so far, and replicate it at Ipswich with schools there and expand other activities within other professions at the Trust, including midwifery, pathology and haematology.”

The masterclasses have been organised in partnership with the Essex Employment and Skills Board’s ‘Essex Education and Industry STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Programme’ team, who have funded the series and recruited the students taking part. For more information about the programme, visit www.essexesb.co.uk/news


Theatre support worker Gaia Falcone has been in her role for four years. Her original plan was to get into publishing, but after going to university she realised finding a job in the industry wasn’t going to be easy and took a completely different career route.

She said: “It’s not something I ever thought about doing, but I knew someone who worked in theatres and they recommended it to me.

“It’s quite a varied role that gives you a really good foundation and knowledge base of the hospital you’re in, something like this is a really good starting point if nursing is something you want to do.

“It’s exciting, every day is different.”




Schools taking part in the surgical masterclasses are:

  • St Benedict’s
  • Clacton Coastal Academy
  • St Helena
  • Stanway
  • Colchester Academy
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