Reflections on time as Chair of Trainees Committee

After two years in post, Hannah Jacob shares her highlights and how proud she is of what the Trainees' Committee has achieved.
Hannah Jacob

It’s official. The advert for a new Chair of the RCPCH Trainees' Committee went out* and my time is almost up.

With it comes a whole range of emotions for me: wistfulness at the end of an era, a sense of achievement for what we have managed to do as a Trainees' Committee over the last two years and excitement at the beginning of a new chapter for my successor. Not to mention more than a little apprehension about needing to get on with finishing my training and finding a consultant job….

It has been an incredibly busy time for training and trainees, with the last few months having been particularly tumultuous. I have been so lucky to work with an amazing bunch of trainees on the committee – a dedicated, passionate and innovative group who have consistently championed the cause of trainees and worked tirelessly to make training better around the UK. If you are a trainee who enjoys working with dynamic colleagues and you are willing to put in the hours, please consider joining the Trainees' Committee – you won’t regret it.

I wanted to share some of my highlights (although I hope the Committee forgive me for trying to condense everyone’s graft into a few paragraphs!). Some stand out pieces for me include the Trainee Charter which outlines what trainees can expect from their training posts and has served as a benchmark for training units. We also developed the Trainee Toolkit to help trainees (particularly those new to the programme) get more information about how it all works. We also have guidance for trainees requiring reasonable adjustment at work on its way and some curriculum and RCPCH ePortfolio webinars too.

I am very grateful to the College team for helping us realise our (sometimes wildly ambitious) ideas; they have been supportive, responsive and willing to listen. I am mindful that it is often the College staff who are on the receiving end of my admin blitzes, sometimes involving dozens of emails sent off in quick succession, often at bizarre times of day. This is nothing compared to the sometimes frenzied nature of the Trainees' Committee WhatsApp group - I wonder who will now be the lucky recipients of my streams of consciousness?!

I am buoyed by the energy and compassion of those around me and feel excited that the voice of trainees in the College is heard louder now than ever before.

I hope the Trainees' Committee is now more open and responsive than ever before. We have loved welcoming observers to our meetings (speak to your regional representative if you'd like to join us) and hope that the ‘Big 5’ highlights from our meetings have been useful to you from your regional representatives. Please keep the ideas for new projects coming and let us know about challenges in your training. Contact like this has been the springboard to many of the projects we have undertaken as a committee so it is invaluable to have this input from trainees around the country.

Training and working in paediatrics is hard going at times. I am buoyed by the energy and compassion of those around me and feel excited that the voice of trainees in the College is heard louder now than ever before. We have the College’s first Equality, Diversity & Inclusion representative on our committee, a really important step towards tackling these issues head on. The College now has an Officer for Retention, a fantastic development that was championed by trainees and which marks the beginning of a concerted effort to support people better in training and beyond.  It feels like it is now ingrained that when any new policy is developed or a change is proposed, everyone asks, "what do the trainees think?" and that feels like an exciting place to be.


  • *. This opportunity closed on 4 December, 17:00