Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust are taking part in a programme called I Can Be which brings 7 and 8 year-old girls into work places, introducing them to inspiring women and helping them to discover the opportunities around them.

Ania Rainbird, Head of Communications for Research, led the first visit of the year at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s Hospital.

The ten girls and their teacher were given Ania’s short biography ahead of the session and prepared questions for her which included “how did you get this job?”, “what is the most fun thing you do and who is your best friend at work?” and “what time do you start and finish work?”

Ania then gave a short talk about her role at the Biomedical Research Centre. She also explained that she was born in Poland and didn’t know any English when she arrived in the UK which struck a chord with some of the girls.

As an activity which would illustrate a part of Ania’s job to 7 and 8 year olds, the girls were asked to read simple information about a common, over the counter paediatric medicine and its effects, to design a poster outlining key information about this medication, along with benefits to patients. They were given a brief with some simple information about the medicine, a template for the poster, pens, pencils and stickers and set to work.

Ania said “We asked the girls to be as creative as possible in making their posters while also including all the key messages that needed to be conveyed. We were really impressed with what they came up with. They really thought about what they wanted to say, and lots of them included before and after drawings of children being ill and then improving following treatment with the medicine.  The girls also did a great job of presenting their work back to each other, and explaining what they liked about their own posters.

I was delighted to be able to take part in the programme. Encouraging young girls to aim high really is such a worthwhile thing for us to be involved in. One of the girls asked for a job when she grows up, so look out for her in a few years’ time as the new Head of R&D Communications…”

There are seven more sessions planned. All will be delivered by female members of research staff,  giving us an opportunity to reach another 70 girls and to introduce them to the world of careers in research at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London.

The I Can Be programme is just one example of the public engagement activities that the Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement team can help Research and Development staff with. You can read more about the team and their work here or contact Claire O’Neill, Public Engagement Manager.