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During summer 2022, HEIW took on 15 students for an eight-week internship. They each spent time in a specific department within HEIW to gain an insight into what it’s like to work for the NHS in Wales.

Here you can read about Chris’ internship experience at HEIW.

Name:                                Chris

Studying:                           Geography and Planning

University:                         Cardiff University

Internship with:                Planning and Performance team at HEIW


My overall experience

My name is Chris and I’m going into my third year as a human geography student at Cardiff University.

My internship has taken place in the planning and performance department of HEIW focusing on sustainability, with particular interest in the implementation of a sustainable faculty for healthcare.

I was really interested in taking up this internship as it offered to provide me with experience in sustainability. In addition, sustainable healthcare wasn’t an area that I had experiencing in or knew about, so it's really attracted to me in terms of exploring this brand-new field.

The fact that HEIW is also part of the NHS was very attractive to me as the NHS, as an organisation, I really respect. Fun fact: I was born three months early, so the NHS really helped me out in that time of my life.

Being an intern at HEIW has been an incredibly enjoyable experience for me. I feel like it's been invaluable to develop so many key employment skills, networking, and getting used to the working world in general.


Chris’ Project

Project summary

My project was to support the early development of the new Welsh faculty for sustainable Healthcare. The faculty is a highly ambitious attempt to embed the best sustainable practice across healthcare throughout Wales.

The vision is to empower healthcare professionals to practice sustainable healthcare for the people of Wales and planetary health. The key ideas of the faculty are:

  • to raise awareness
  • embed climate-smart education
  • and support improvement.

Whilst the faculty is small right now, there's ambition to expand it to cover the whole of Wales and provide sustainable change in healthcare.


My goals for this project

I had two main goals for my project that HEIW. The first was to aid in the recruitment of 35 sustainable champions who would be upskilled in sustainability and spread their knowledge where they work across Wales. Supporting this was central to my early weeks at HEIW.

Once this had been completed, my goal shifted onto setting up a mapping resources for the hub of the faculty. The hub will be hosted on Gwella and will hold all the resources that anybody looking for sustainability will need.

Several of the key milestones of this launch have included

  • mapping resources for the support of all professions across healthcare
  • assisting in communication plans for the launch of the hub
  • map training and organisations for support on the hub
  • creating the hub launch pack
  • identifying potential speakers that can talk about the importance of climate smart education.

At the start of the internship I had to do a lot of background reading on Wales's and HEIW's position on sustainability, which really helped give me some background knowledge on the situation in Wales. This was further enhanced by me attending the Green Health Wales Conference before I started my internship, which gave further insightful information and helped me hit the ground running.

Due to the very new nature of this project, I immediately began to assist with the recruitment of these champions, drafting a recruitment poster, creating a job description and adverts. I did this whilst contributing to the strategy in order to provide the maximum outreach and ensure as many people as possible apply to the role.

I then moved on to collation of 200 different journals, articles and toolkits to do with sustainability over an expansive range of professions. I then coded them so they can be used in the library of the hub which will be able to provide anyone across Wales with information as they need it.


Next steps

I'll be passing all my work that I've done on to the very capable team at HEIW ready for the hub launch in November.

It's also inspired me to keep taking every opportunity that comes my way and upskill as much as possible. My next step will be to enter my final year at Cardiff University where I will complete my dissertation. This will hopefully have a focus on HEIW.


Outside of work and university

In my spare time I am an avid sports watcher and player with my favourite sports being football and tennis, I also enjoy socialising with my friends and going on walks around nature.