A Day In The Life Of... Ekramul Hoque (Workforce Programmes Manager)
A Day In The Life Of... Ekramul Hoque (Workforce Programmes Manager)
"There are lots of challenges that stem from structural changes. These are part and parcel of the job. Like most, it does take time to sometimes accept and appreciate change."
Please give a brief overview of your background
On December 1984 as a six-months old immigrant, I arrived in the UK with my mother. I was born in the Sylet district of Bangladesh, and I am the eldest of four siblings. I have resided almost all my life in Tower Hamlets in the Whitechapel area of the Borough, with local schooling until university. Hidden behind what may seem a fairly sensible grown man was a notoriously naughty and presumptuous (some may still describe me as such) young person who had, fair to say, caused some nuisance in the early primary school year period. Fast forward a few decades, I find myself somewhat more prudent and trying to give back as much as I can of the blessings that life has given me.
I have an academic background in marketing and business development, with an interest in social psychology. I have found myself engaged into the National Health Service very early in my career. In fact, except for a four-week Christmas stint at Sainsburys, pretty much all my other employment has been within the health sector. I am thankful to now be serving my 13th year of NHS service, I count myself as one of the fortunate ones. My health career started with a two-weeks work experience at the Royal College of Midwives, as an Events Coordinator – surprise, surprise! This led to a near year long tenure. My next stop happened to be a few stations down to Russell Square where I worked for a year for the Learning and Development team at Great Ormond Street Hospital. And this followed by joining the Tower Hamlets Primary Care Trust in 2008 as GP appraisals coordinator – and the rest is history!
Sports and food are probably my two favourite pastimes – the latter mainly to eat. A once overzealous Arsenal and England fan, now less so. An avid follower of Tennis, Cricket and F1.
What are the key aspects of your role?
A key aspect of my role is to help ensure that we have a workforce with the right skills, knowledge and attitude to deliver the best care to our population. This includes facilitating lots of training and networking to help upkeep latest subject knowledge, working ways and connect different parts of the workforce to deliver patient centred care. It also entails ensuring we recruit the right workforce, who are supported in their development and empowered to do the job they are passionate about doing!
What team/service does your role sit within?
My role sits with the CEPN aka Training Hub service that the GP Care Group host. Our service falls under the Quality Directorate of the organisation overseen by the Director of Quality & Assurance.
Name two other teams/services that you work closely with, and how?
It is very difficult to describe just two. The role encompasses close working with many stakeholders across primary care development, integrated care system across health and social care, and also support workforce development activities of the ever-growing Care Group.
At present a lot of my time is spent on working across the integrated health and social care stakeholders through Tower Hamlets Together, our local integrated care system. The purpose being to develop synergies and a cross partnership sustainability plan to address key workforce transformation priorities in Tower Hamlets. Partners engaged would typically involve Acute Trust, Primary Care, Community Health, Mental Health, Social Care, Voluntary sector, and other wellbeing stakeholders.
And due to the development of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP), and the tri borough WEL working, I am in regular engagement with workforce transformation teams across North East London and beyond. Training Hubs exist in every area of the country now; the East London partnership aims to identify common challenges and themes that would add value in doing together and sharing of best practices across the patch.
Describe a typical day in your role - what do you do?
The only recurring theme on an average day will be meetings; and lots of them. I do remember when I first started working, I used to look at my managers and think they must have so much fun attending these meetings all day long where important things being discussed and key decisions made. I believe I slightly misjudged the fun element. Though I am fortunate to work with so many amazingly passionate colleagues, and I do so enjoy meeting new people. However, it does sometimes get overwhelming especially when you receive circa 150 emails on a typical day!
A lot of my work is around building relationships to help connect different individuals and groups in the system. These would include at local primary care level, cross organisational and even cross sectorial. My role is to identify common themes and deliver an efficient service working together. Often education and learning are key enablers to make this happen.
I engage in a lot of work planning activities, planning of training delivery, supporting workforce transformation priorities to enable new ways of working using the tools available to us in 2020. This and thinking about how we create a rewarding and enjoyable work environment for all.
I am fortunate to have the backing of my employers to work flexibly. This allows me to plan my day around my family and doing school runs as required. This helps keep my sanity in the middle of a busy day.
What would you say are the most challenging aspects of your role?
There are lots of challenges that stem from structural changes. These are part and parcel of the job. Like most, it does take time to sometimes accept and appreciate change, particularly on a system level. However, these also present opportunities. I am also not a huge fan of overly bureaucratic and complex processes which sometimes you find yourself entangled in. I prefer getting on with the ‘doing’ and help bring positive change.
What do you enjoy most, or what are you most proud of in your job?
I enjoy talking to people. I think really highly of my amazing team in particular. I am surrounded by so many inspirational and talented people, often a lot of innovation is driven by these people. The single most important resource available is people. My job enables me to help have some amazing conversations that drive these innovations, most of which is aimed at making peoples’ lives easier. My role also allows me and the team to think ‘outside the box’ in doing things differently. The ultimate joy of my roles I guess is being able to bring joy and ease to other peoples’ lives.
Often the pride manifests in non ‘day job’ activities. My role has enabled me to connect to a lot of people – and being around for over a decade has helped this. My work privileges allow me to address socio-economic issues, social injustice, environment and sustainability, and co production of health and wellbeing with patients amongst other things. It also allows me to be involved in fun activities like cake baking and football tournaments. All of these ‘little’ things contribute towards a bigger and deeper core of inclusivity and joy which is essential to attractive and retaining good people in our workplaces.
Share one thing that your colleagues don’t know about you?
I cannot swim. Best not ask why!
I am though a keen cook - I enjoy it and find it therapeutic. What I do not enjoy is the clearing up afterwards. My favourite dishes are prawn bhuna, lamb jalfrezi and tandoori wings. I also can make decent fruit salad, but guess we all can do that.