Sir Keith Pearson receives honorary doctorate for services to healthcare
Chair of Health Education England offers encouragement to graduates
Sir Keith Pearson, the Chair of Health Education England, has been honoured for his services to healthcare by being awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of East London (UEL).
Sir Keith, who has worked in the healthcare service for more than 40 years, said his nomination had been a welcome surprise.
He said, "I’ve been to UEL a couple of times and there is a relationship that I am building with the University, but for that to be cemented by being offered this honour was a huge surprise to me.”
Sir Keith joined private health care company BUPA as a management trainee in the 1970s and served in various management positions throughout the UK before moving to Hong Kong to serve as Chief Executive of the company’s Asian arm.
After ten years working in the Far East he returned to the UK in 1997 when he was appointed Chair of South Somerset Primary Care Group. He later became Chair of South Somerset Primary Care Trust and also served as Chair of the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority. He has been Chair of Health Education England since 2012.
He said, “Our work is to plan for the future demands on the NHS. We currently commission the education and training of 23,000 pre-registration nurses and midwives each year and about 7,500 allied health professionals.”
Sir Keith received his doctorate at the graduation ceremony for students of UEL's School of Health, Sport and Bioscience at indigo at the O2 on Monday. And he had plenty of encouragement for fellow graduates as they enter the healthcare job market.
“Those in the medical sciences will find that there is a place in the NHS for them," said. "For many, there will also be a place in the pharmaceutical industry. I don’t think that this group will find difficulty finding employment.”
Sir Keith added that graduates should not consider their education is over now that they have received their degrees.
He offered the following advice to graduates: “This is a generation where life-long learning will be more and more a feature of your lives. You already have your pre-skills. Next you will have to think about up-skilling, and later perhaps even re-skilling.”