My first experience of consulting came during a placement with the North of England Commissioning Support (NECS) Consultancy team as part of the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme. Until then I’d never considered consultancy as a career, but I soon came around to the idea. I was drawn to two characteristics inherent to consultancy, the variety of work available and the opportunities to explore challenging problems. When a permanent role within the team was advertised I was quick to apply and thrilled to be offered the job!
NECS Consultancy provides services to public sector organisations operating across national, regional and local footprints. Some of our key areas of expertise include: managing transformational change, developing strategy and issue based problem solving.
As a member of the Yorkshire team l typically won’t have to leave the county for a project, although I might occasionally be asked to travel to support projects being delivered by our other regional teams. I’m currently enjoying the luxury of working with a client within walking distance of my flat in Leeds. But when I’m not on-site, I’ll work from home; making the most of remote working tools to stay in touch with the client and the rest of the NECS team.
I’m currently supporting a department of an NHS arm’s-length body to deliver transformational changes to their operating model. The first thing in my calendar is always the daily stand-up, where the delivery team get together to discuss the work they’re going to do for the day and what support they might need. From there on out anything can happen; I might facilitate a workshop to help capture stakeholder requirements or spend a morning providing quality assurance on the programme’s deliverables.
It’s early days in my consultancy career, but so far I’m really enjoying the opportunities to collaborate with such a varied cross-section of people. It’s been a great way to learn new things, gain new insights and expose myself to different perspectives. I’ve also really enjoyed being able to contribute to several of the steering groups involved in shaping the future of the NECS Consultancy Team. It’s been a rare and interesting opportunity to build the practices and culture of a team that’s relatively new and rapidly expanding.
But I’d be lying if I said everything has been plain sailing. I’ve always had high standards for myself but since becoming a consultant I’ve really pushed myself to always perform at my absolute best to give the client the most value. This extra pressure (which I’ve largely placed on myself!) has been exhausting at times and has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced personally. Fortunately I’m learning to say no or ask for support when I’m feeling over-faced and I’m pretty good at making sure I switch off from my work to see friends and relax.
To anyone thinking about consultancy as a career I’d say that I’ve found it to be a really exciting and worthwhile profession. I think you’d be able to find quick and easy ways to apply knowledge and skills you already have to a career in consultancy. Aside from the obvious benefits of variety and experience I also think you would be surprised at how appreciative clients can be for your input and support and just how rewarding that can be!
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