Real-life story - Chris Willis

After qualifying as an electrician Chris found that he was able to work, gaining several promotions, while studying to improve his prospects even more.


Chris Willis

Patient environment manager

Employer or university
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Salary range

I am responsible for making sure the wards are a safe environment for staff and patients

  • As a qualified electrician, I took the decision to join the NHS as a maintenance assistant because of the excellent career potential on offer. It has turned out to be a great decision!

    I had the satisfaction of being promoted twice - to electrical craftsman and then to day technician. I was given all the encouragement and financial support I needed. While I was a day technician, my employer paid for me first to study part time for a BTEC in electrical and electronic engineering and then for an HNC/HND.

    I'm now patient environment manager as well as being in the final year of a degree course in electrical engineering. At the moment, I think I'll probably do the MBA with the aim of becoming an operations or estates manager, but I haven't quite decided yet. The field is wide open to me.

  • I still work some of the time as an on-call electrical engineer but I also report to the trust's maintenance and operations managers. I am responsible for making sure the wards are a safe environment for staff and patients.

  • With the support of the NHS, I have made great progress and I intend to go even further. I could go on to do an MBA in engineering management or choose to join the electrical systems design team or move into project management.

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