CHESS-2 Organising Committee

CHESS-2 Organising Committee

Find out more about the team that made the CHESS-2 meeting a reality.

Gavin Cleary - Director of Medical Education, Consultant Paediatric Rheumatologist

Gavin Cleary

I am a Consultant Paediatric Rheumatologist and Director of Medical Education at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

At Alder Hey we are passionate about training the next generation of healthcare professionals, as we continually strive to deliver the highest standards of care to all our paediatric patients.

We have organised the CHESS-2 meeting to learn more about the journey from high school to work as healthcare providers in a children’s hospital in the modern world. I extend my warm welcome to all of you attending the meeting.

I am very grateful to so many colleagues from different healthcare backgrounds who are contributing to our morning plenary sessions, and to our colleagues from Universities who place students at Alder Hey who are showcasing their work in the afternoon Market Place. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible on the 10th March.

Lalith Wijedoru - Clinical Teacher, Consultant Paediatric Emergency Medicine


My name is Lalith Wijedoru. I am a Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. I am a Clinical Teacher at the University of Liverpool’s School of Medicine. I am also a Clinical Lecturer and External Examiner at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. I am passionate about both undergraduate and postgraduate education, in both resourced and low-resource settings.

CHESS-2 is important to me because it reflects ALL healthcare degrees on placement in a children’s hospital, from social care, diagnostic radiography, pharmacy, healthcare scientists, and operating department practitioners. I feel strongly that people are more likely to be attracted to a child health-related career/research if they are directly involved in the work they are expected to do as graduates. I feel undergraduate students, volunteers, and vocational training scheme students are often overlooked when it comes to getting that exposure. I hope that by raising awareness on the opportunities to inspire, attract, and engage this important strata of learners in a tertiary centre that this will increase the pool of those who choose child health as their postgraduate path, be it in NHS clinical employment or research.

I am very proud of working at Alder Hey, and am a strong champion for Liverpool and the north of England. I very much look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to Merseyside.

Helen Blackburn - Medical Education Manager


Jared Murphy - Undergraduate Medical Student, School of Medicine, University of Liverpool

Jared Murphy

I'm a medical student who's just about to start work in the summer as an academic foundation doctor focussing on medical education. Additionally, I love paediatrics and so have been very fortunate to be part of this amazing CHESS-2 organising team. 

As part of this team, I have gained experience that i otherwise never would have as a student and now can't wait to see everybody's hard work culminate at this event. Many teams at Alder Hey have given me countless opportunities to learn, get involved and achieve so much. To have such incredible mentors inspires students (and everyone!) to become better clinicians, learners and educators and that is why i am so excited to be part of CHESS-2.

I look forward to meeting everyone- please do come and say hello! I hope you all have a fantastic day of learning, sharing and discussion here at our wonderful children's hospital.

Joanne Downes - Vocational Placement Adviser

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My name is Joanne Downes. I have worked for Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust for 20 years in various roles. For the past two years, I have been responsible for the following vocational activities:

  • Managing vocational placements to support our Corporate Social Responsibilities.
  • Co-ordinating work experience requests submitted to the Trust and engaging with local schools and colleges. 
  • Working in partnership with Job Centre Plus and external careers agencies to offer pre-employment opportunities and developing the “Alder Hey Grow Our Own” strategy.
  • Working within the local community to promote careers and development opportunities within the NHS and Alder Hey specifically.
  • Arranging careers events for students interested in developing careers within the NHS.
  • Developing a strategically-planned approach to scheduling placements throughout the organisation.

Vocational placement opportunities are a great for young people who are interested in developing careers and also want to find out more, before committing to a particular profession or educational pathway. The opportunity to gain exposure to a particular profession is priceless to any person before starting a career journey.

Pre-employment programmes are also invaluable opportunities for un-employed people who want to gain new skills and on-the-job training. This provides them with an chance to apply for internal roles in the NHS that may not have been possible beforehand.

I was recently nominated by the Deputy Director of Human Resources for Delivering Game Changing Innovation at our local staff awards. This was in recognition for the contribution and hard work I have shown when supporting vocational learners. After 20 years of continued service, I feel very passionate about promoting Alder Hey as an employer of choice. It is extremely rewarding to see people progress from vocational placements with the Trust to employment.

I look forward to many more years of celebrating success and experiencing satisfaction from innovative programme opportunities at Alder Hey!

Victoria Hughes - Head of Nursing Education and Support Worker Development

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I began my nursing career when I completed two weeks' work experience in Alder Hey when I was 16 yrs old, which helped me confirm I wanted to be a children’s nurse. I then commenced my child nurse training at Liverpool John Moores University in Sept 1998. When I qualified in Sept 2001, I was very clear I wanted to start my nursing career in Alder Hey. I knew the specialist services and variety of opportunities would allow me to consolidate my skills and build a strong foundation.

Throughout my early nursing career, I always held a strong interest in supporting others to develop, and this interest fuelled my decision to move more into the education side of nursing. I commenced my role as a Practice Education Facilitator (PEF) in 2009. I enjoyed my time as a PEF working in partnership with our local universities, to ensure the students completing clinical placements within the organisation as part of their programmes of study, achieved the required standard to allow them to register.

In September 2018, I was appointed to the Head of Nurse Education and Support Worker Development role. This has enabled me to support our organisation nursing workforce to engage with further development opportunities, and ensure an organisational approach to nursing development and support, by working with the clinical practice educators, and practice education facilitators within the organisation.

Sarah Hanson - Higher Education Progressions Advisor, Shaping Futures

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As part of the Shaping Futures team, I work with secondary and post-16 students across the Liverpool City Region to support them with their education choices and future aspirations. It’s rare to go a week without speaking to a student who would love to go into healthcare, but it’s unfortunately common for students to have a lack of understanding, misinformation or concerns about what life is actually like as a healthcare student. Partnership working with NHS Trusts, and events like CHESS-2 are absolutely vital in supporting the next generation of healthcare professionals to reach their potential. They need to feel comfortable and confident in their next steps, wherever in their education journey they might be. Particularly for the most disadvantaged students, the opportunities this sort of event provides and the innovations it inspires, are valuable beyond measure.

Jodie Cockram - Operations Manager, Institute in the Park / Alder Hey Academy

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As a new member of the Academy Team at Alder Hey (recently appointed as Operations Manager) it has been a pleasure working alongside so many different members of staff who have come together as a team to host CHESS-2.   

I began my NHS career 10 years ago and one of the many things that I love about the healthcare service is that we are not afraid to evolve and to learn from each other.  CHESS-2 is an ideal opportunity to share ideas, voice opinions, inspire, and ultimately support our future workforce - before, during, and after whichever educational road they choose to take.  

I am looking forward to hosting the event within the ‘Institute in the Park’: a state-of-the-art conference and education centre which we are lucky to share with a number of local Higher Educational Institutions.  Please look out for members of the events team who will be more than happy to help in any way we can.  I hope delegates enjoy attending CHESS-2 as much as we have enjoyed organising it!

Jessica Doyle - Event Co-ordinator, Alder Hey Academy


I am an Events Co-ordinator at Alder Hey, assisting in the organisation of educational events held in the Institute building, and teaching programmes led by the Academy Department. I have worked at the Trust since 2018 and I am proudly one of the first apprentices to be recruited by Alder Hey. I am also an Apprenticeship Ambassador and recently completed my studies in Business and Administration. I look forward to progressing in my career within the Trust, and feel honoured to support events like CHESS-2 that demonstrate the diverse career paths available within the healthcare sector.

Daniel Taylor - Event Co-ordinator, Alder Hey Academy

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I work for Alder Hey as an Events Co-ordinator for the Academy team based in the Institute in the Park building. As well as facilitating events in the Trust, I am also responsible for the successful implementation and maintenance of the international observership programmes the Trust provides to doctors looking to observe in a UK healthcare environment. My role has given me the opportunity to visit and network with our colleagues in Beijing and Shanghai to produce an international partnership between Alder Hey and various hospitals in China. I have a degree in Education & Early Childhood that I achieved during my time at Liverpool Hope University.

CHESS-2 provides an opportunity to show off the brand new Institute in the Park building that has had the distinction of holding many important conferences held by our world class clinical teams over the last 18 months.

Alder Hey Academy is proud to support these brilliant events.   

Daniel McKeown - Digital Communications Officer

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I’m the Digital Communications Officer at Alder Hey and I’m responsible for the managing and maintaining of Alder Hey’s social media channels, as well this very website you’re looking at right now! I love working at Alder Hey and, during my time here, I’ve had the chance to meet many inspiring patients and families who have nothing but good things to say about the amazing staff that care for them. Thanks to my talented colleagues above, I have been able to put together this CHESS-2 site to provide all of the relevant information for anyone interested in the event. I hope you find these pages useful and you enjoy the event on March 10th.

With special thanks to:

  • Cath Kilcoyne, Head of Alder Hey Academy
  • Melissa Swindell, Director of Human Resources & Organisational Development
  • Claire Liddy, Director of Operational Finance & Innovation


  • ALL of the marketplace stallholders
  • ALL of the plenary panel members and facilitators
  • Shaping Futures
  • Alder Hey Volunteers


  • University of Liverpool
  • Edge Hill University
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Chester
  • Liverpool Hope University
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