As the current Bridging Scheme continues, I have been reflecting on the offering and the value it can bring to those who secure places. The scheme is funded by HEE with the intention of funding clinicians who want to build a clinical academic career and are ready to apply for a PhD Fellowship. 

Those who are successful will form part of the growing clinical academic infrastructure and be in a position to deliver applied health research studies in the future. 

Being involved with the scheme is demanding for both the team who deliver it and those who take part. The approach is to identify those key elements which contribute to a successful application, give confidence and strategies to run research alongside busy clinical workloads and to bring people together at a similar stage in their career to share and learn from each other. 

We are constantly looking for new ideas to develop those on the scheme whilst also encouraging them to draw upon the skills they already have but not may have applied to their careers as research leaders. 

I have found new similarities in another aspect of my life because I have just begun to teach English to 2 Ukrainian refugees who have found sanctuary in our small village, living with a family here. It is hoped that more will follow. In advance of their arrival, the community sought to identify individuals who had skills which could be of help to them either in preparation for their arrival or in settling them once they arrived. 

As a Speech & Language Therapist, I offered to teach them English. As with the NMAHPs on the Bridging Scheme, the basis of your skills never leaves you and will define the ways that you view clinical work and research. I find that my skills have not left me! 

The experience is a heady mix of exhilaration and terror and as I drove up to the house for the first session, I did wonder whether I had bitten off far more than I could chew! I do not speak any Ukranian at all and they have very little English, but we are finding ways of working together learning and laughing and really having fun. 

They were very uncertain about how the sessions would run and what my teaching style might be but have quickly relaxed and found their feet. Those undertaking the Bridging Scheme will recognise these feelings! 

I have begun to source materials to enhance their learning experience and have been surprised at the range which might be suitable at least in part – others have also suggested excellent resources and new ways of working. The whole experience is proving to be rewarding and enriching in equal measure. 

Perhaps you are considering applying for our Bridging Scheme and will reflect on your uncertainty and chat to others who have taken this road to gain an idea of whether it is the scheme for you. It will be tailored, full of useful information to encourage success in making an application. It will draw on your existing knowledge and encourage you to learn and share in a comfortable environment with your peers. We encourage you to think about it and chat to one of the team.

Anyone wishing to speak to the team about the HEE Bridging Scheme, please contact Jo Simpson in the first instance: –