Featured Job: Elysium Psychology Graduates Academy

Employer: Elysium Healthcare

Professor Nick Alderman, Clinical Director of Neurobehavioural Rehabilitation Services at Elysium Neurological Services answers our questions about the Academy.

What is the Elysium Psychology Graduate Academy?
A programme designed to help psychology graduates develop their CV’s, progressing towards Chartered status; the clinical and forensic psychologists of the future. It is especially aimed at recent graduates with limited healthcare experience and has two chief components, educational and experiential.

Why did you introduce it?
The potential benefits to employers and psychology graduates in working as Health Care Assistants (HCA’s) has been recognised for many years, and various initiatives have been put in place to encourage this. What makes our programme different is that, to our knowledge, few employers have introduced such a comprehensive, structured approach to the issue. We are passionate about being able to help young people starting their careers. Becoming full-time Assistant Psychologists, then winning a place on a forensic or clinical doctoral training programme is challenging. The number of applicants for these programmes always exceeds the places available. The academy is a new initiative and 2019 will see the first intake.

What will graduates do and learn?
Our programme is aimed squarely at helping graduates negotiate the bottlenecks to Chartership and maximise their chances of succeeding in their chosen career pathway. It offers education, experience in dual work roles, and mentoring from a psychologist. The educational programme gives successful applicants access to a library of professionally made video lectures on a range of topics, delivered by psychologists who are members of the Academy’s teaching faculty. One video can be retrieved each month and on successful completion of a short online test, graduates will receive a CPD certificate. An annual one to two-day workshop will enable graduates to learn clinical and other skills that require face-to-face participation. The second component is experiential. Graduates will be employed as Health Care Assistants in one of our many hospitals and residential homes. They will learn skills important to all clinical professions: including team-working and working directly with service users who present with a range of conditions and complex needs. One day in 14 they will change role and work as an Assistant Psychologist under the supervision of a Chartered Psychologist, working on an agreed time-limited project with end goals. The focus of these projects will be diverse: clinical, audit, service evaluation or research. An annual conference offers graduates and their supervisors the opportunity to share their projects with the rest of Elysium and compete for a range of prizes. We’ll encourage and support publication of completed projects.

What sorts of applicants are you looking for?
These are described in the accompanying advert – the qualities of the clinical and forensic psychologists of the future. Of course they may not have clinical and other experience, but the academy will help them accrue this. It is essential applicants will have the qualities to work as an HCA and an Assistant Psychologist.

Can you give me a headline overview of Elysium?
Elysium was established in December 2016 and offers a wide range of services: child and adolescent, neurological, forensic mental health, and clinical settings such as eating disorders. Elysium is fast becoming one of the country’s largest independent healthcare providers and continues to grow. Psychologists are highly valued and many services are Psychology led. There is a clinical specialism for every psychologist.

If you had a good candidate in front of you, what sorts of things would you say to them to make them apply?
First, I would make sure the candidate had a good knowledge of their chosen career path and the challenges to achieving this. Next, I would talk to them about Elysium, its vision, its values and its overwhelming desire to get the best clinical outcomes for service users. I would tell them how much the company values its employees, its desire to grow and develop staff and to be the best they can be. I would describe the Academy programme as an example of this, investing in the clinicians of tomorrow. And I would challenge them to identify a similar scheme provided by other service providers. Given all these points I would ask them to identify reasons why they wouldn’t apply!

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