Sufiya Rasul has been honoured with a special award sponsored by the Royal College of Nursing for her tireless work engaging with local schools and the wider community. 

Sufiya’s award was presented as part of Black History Month which recognises and celebrates the contribution of Black and Minority Ethnic people to health and social care over the last 70 years.

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ELHT Director of Nursing Christine Pearson, said: “This coveted award from the Royal College of Nursing is a great way to recognise the dedication and innovative NHS employment initiatives that Sufiya and our Workforce Education team have worked so hard to deliver.

“Quite simply, Sufiya’s commitment and positive personality have resulted in career opportunities for many young people who may otherwise not have careers in the NHS today.”

Sufiya began her career at East Lancashire Hospitals as an apprentice in 2002 and works with various communities to develop work-based programmes which give a voice to individuals and groups who may have struggled to gain employment in the NHS. 

In the past 12 months alone, Sufiya and her colleagues have promoted NHS career opportunities to more than 10,000 people as ELHT looks to become the local employer of choice for young people in East Lancashire. 

During the past year, 3887 students visited East Lancashire’s five NHS hospitals to learn more about NHS career options. In addition, Sufiya and her colleagues met a further 7688 students at schools, colleges, Youth Zones and other venues throughout East Lancashire. 

““I am both humbled and absolutely overjoyed to receive this special award from the Royal College of Nursing,” says Sufiya. “This award is not so much about my individual contribution, but a recognition of our joint efforts to give more people from all backgrounds the benefit of a career in the NHS.” 

“I believe each of has value and should have the chance to contribute to the NHS which offers hundreds of career choices. It can be a wonderful place to work and build a fulfilling career which, for many people, lasts 40 years of more.”

The success of Sufiya’s work speak for itself and in the last 12 months alone she has planned, organised and supported 117 recruitment events for East Lancashire Hospitals, both internal and external. 

ELHT Director of Human Resources & Workforce Development, Kevin Moynes, said, "These included an NHS careers event at Blackburn leisure centre which attracted over 600 attendees and had over 40 different interactive careers stalls. 

“Sufiya started work at ELHT as an apprentice and has progressed into her current position as Widening Access and Apprenticeship Lead. She is an excellent example to young people of how, when given the opportunity, they can build a career pathway within the NHS.

“Her drive and enthusiasm at a time when young people are finding opportunities for employment and getting ‘a foot in the door’ becoming increasingly harder is commendable.”