Category Archives: Team News

Being a Field Servicing Technician in the Assistive Technology Team

In this post Phill, one of our new Field Service Technicians tells us about his role.   If this is something that interests you, or someone you know, then we have a position out to advert at the moment so please have a look and get in touch!


Tell us what the job of Field Servicing Technician in the Assistive Technology Team involves?

Phill, one of our field service engineers.

Phill, one of our Field Service Technicians

No two days are ever the same. One day you may be refurbishing equipment that has been returned ready to be returned to another client or setting up a device for other members of the team. You could be installing a system for a client or carrying out a routine service. But the best part of the job is that every day you can make a real difference to someone’s life. This could be something as “simple” as letting someone control their TV using a different style of controller to enabling someone to communicate who may not be able to speak.

What was your previous field servicing experience?

Previously I worked as a service engineer for a large international company on high end devices from numerous manufacturers. The equipment I worked on was in almost every sector from Healthcare to banking, Small single offices to international  companies.

How does this role compare to your previous field servicing experience?

Previously I was just a number in a service division of an international company. Now I’m part of an amazing team of people who are all working towards providing the best possible service possible. Everyone goes the extra mile to help our clients.

What would you say to someone else coming into this role?

If you really like helping people and working with technology then this is the job for you.

Tell us about a client you recently visited, what did you do?

One of the first visits I attended was to watch a colleague install an environmental control system. After we had completed the install the reaction from the client and her Husband  was fantastic. Being able to control the TV and adjust her chair made such a difference. A more recent visit I have attended was for a young man who is not able to communicate or use standard devices to control his TV, Radio or go on Facebook. All this is now controlled from one device. Although he couldn’t talk we still had a laugh with each other after I told him I was going to make his device tune the TV to Classic FM. We settled on Heart FM

Anything else?

The Barnsley AT Team

The Barnsley AT Team

If you want a new challenge in a rewarding field, working as part of a fantastic team in a great environment then this could be the move your looking for.

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Work with us!

The Barnsley AT Team

The Barnsley AT Team

We are recruiting to a number of positions in our team – we are looking for Technical staff and also Speech Therapists and Therapy Assistants.   If you wish to apply, or know someone who may be interested, please see the listings on NHS jobs below.

Technical Staff: Do you have a technical background but want to work in a more rewarding role, making a real difference to the lives of individuals with disabilities? We are looking for Technicians, Field Service Engineers and Clinical Technologists to work in our nationally recognised Assistive Technology Team.

If you have a technical background and an interest in electronic Assistive Technology, we have a number of posts open, according to your skills and experience:

If you are a registered Clinical Technologist, or have a defined route for completing registration:

Therapy Staff: Are you a Speech Therapist or Therapy Assistant with a specific interest in AAC and Assistive Technology?

Find Out more about our team and the services we provide on our website.

BBC Accessibility Champions

In August Vicky Johnson and Marcus Friday from our Team were invited to present to the BBC accessibility champions event at BBC Media City in Salford.

BBC Accessibility Champions

BBC Media City, Salford

BBC Media City, Salford

This day was organised to bring together many BBC accessibility champions. The group included people who design BBC websites and apps to ensure accessibility. The audience consisted of programmers, user experience designers, researchers and testers, business analysts, assistive technology users and accessibility specialists.

The BBC now has approximately 85 accessibility champions which span across many BBC departments, eg TV, radio, sport and children’s. Presentations were given to explain the ways in which the champions ensure that accessibility is considered early in the design process, and that testing is carried out as a website, app or game is developed.

‘Physical’ ICT Accessibility

Vicky and Marcus, from the Barnsley AT team, were invited to speak at the event in order to provide the audience with an insight into how users with severe physical impairments access technology. The focus was on their clients who predominantly have upper limb physical impairments and sometimes have associated visual and cognitive difficulties. An overview of the Barnsley AT Team was provided, along with some powerful case studies of clients using their AT systems to enable computer access, control of the environment, and access to communication.

Three breakout sessions took place in the afternoon and we listened to the Head of Accessibility and Accessibility Specialists provide an insight into the developments in the accessibility of BBC output in recent years. Part of the discussion focused on how to ensure that breadth of BBC output is accessible to those with visual, cognitive or physical difficulties.

Looking to the Future

The day ended with a fun session spent in the Blue Room. The BBC have dream jobs where Technologists are employed whose role is to keep aware of new mainstream developments which may have an application or scope for development of interest to them.

We tried the Amazon voice recognition system called Echo which uses the protocol IFTTT (if this then that) which provides a flexible system, where for example the system recognises your request and you program it to perform any number of actions e.g. control your environment, interact with an app in order to order a taxi or food or action another command programmed in other IFTTT enabled apps. We also had time to try Google Glass and a relatively cheap head worn display called Glasshouse.

It was a privilege to meet some of the people behind the iPlayer TV and radio apps, including the Good Food site. Overall, it was an informative and enjoyable day which has opened up the opportunity for Barnsley AT Team to work further with the BBC.

Specialised Services for AAC and Environmental Control: An Update

There have been big changes within the Barnsley Assistive Technology Team over the past three years, we have been steadily recruiting more team members as we expand our services across the Yorkshire and Humber region as part of the staged roll-out of Specialised Services for AAC and Environmental Controls. You can read more about the history of this process on our website.

We are now almost at the end of this process. We currently cover most areas within Yorkshire and Humberside and will be accepting referrals from all CCG’s by the end of the year. Information regarding our care pathway and how we work with local services can be found on our website:

Supporting Local Services

We are keen to work with local services to support them through this transition period and beyond. We have already visited lots of teams to talk about our service and how we can work with each other to support people using AAC and Environmental controls.

We also offer a wide range of free training courses which can be delivered in your local area. Details of our curriculum are also on our website: www.barnsleyhospital.nhs.uk/assistive-technology/services/training-courses/

We are also trying to bring together local services to share and learn from each other. This includes setting up and arranging the Yorkshire and Humber AAC Clinical Excellence Network meeting which has been running for almost a year now. The group meets every four months to discuss a range of Assistive Technology issues and serves as a useful forum for networking and CPD.

Also on our website is a range of resources, including our popular ‘local services resource pack’ which details products and resources which local professionals will find useful: www.barnsleyhospital.nhs.uk/assistive-technology/services/resources-and-information/

NHS England have also recently published guidance about AAC provision from local and specialised services. This is a useful reference for local commissioners and managers when considering AAC provision: www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2016/03/guid-comms-aac.pdf


We have received lots of positive feedback so far and are enjoying getting to know the professionals across the region supporting AAC and Environmental Controls. If you have any questions about our service or would like to arrange for us to visit your team, please email barnsley.at@nhs.net

To receive further updates and news from the Barnsley Assistive Technology Team, please sign up to our mailing list (we send a message or two per month).

Be a Field Service Engineer with a difference

We are currently recruiting for field service engineers.  This is not your average field servicing job though – this post is rewarding and challenging in equal measure. In addition, there are routes to personal development including working towards registration as a clinical technologist within the NHS.

These roles are key to our team’s ability to install, service,  maintain and repair the communication aids and environmental controls that our team provides to individuals with severe disabilities.

You will have to have a strong electronic/computing engineering background and the ability to communicate with a range of people and have an excellent ability to fault find and fix problems. You will also enjoy being a part of a supportive and dynamic team.

Read more about the job on the NHS Jobs page.  You can also see more about what we do on our website.

Join our team

We are continuing the expansion of our service, to provide specialised Augmentative Communication Aid and Environmental Control services across Yorkshire and Humber.   As such we have new roles available within the team:

  • Office & Contract Manager – NHS Jobs Ref 163-2687E-10-15
  • Assistive Technology Clinical Specialist (Occupational Therapist) – NHS Jobs Ref 163-2633E-10-15
  • Therapy Assistant / Technical Instructor – this will be posted on 23rd Oct.
  • Clinical Technologist (Electronics) – this will be posted in November.

We are looking for motivated individuals with a real drive for making a difference to the lives of people with disabilities. Our team is known nationally and internationally for quality and innovation and by joining you will help us maintain this reputation and more importantly to deliver a great service within Yorkshire and Humber.

If you are interested in any of these roles, please have a look at the job descriptions (linked above) and please feel free to get in touch to discuss them further.

AT Mos

Michael and Simon from the AT team decided to take part in ‘Movember’ – to raise some money for prostate cancer services.

Movember

AT team Movember Effort!

As you can see, i am not sure it will become part of our official uniform! Thanks to all who kindly donated.