The ‘Get to Know’ series showcases staff from around the NHS Workforce Alliance (NHS WA) to give you a glimpse of the variety of roles in our organisation and the people who perform them.
This month, we’re pleased to introduce Aron Ahluwalia, category manager at NHS Commercial Solutions.
What is your background?
I have spent the last seven years or so in the NHS, specifically working to develop and assist the workforce category. Before joining Commercial Solutions, I worked at a trust on the South Coast – firstly working for a managed service provider and then latterly joining a procurement hub to manage agency spend and other professional services.
During 10 years on the South Coast I completed my university degree in History and Politics, competed as an amateur boxer for three years, winning the British University Championship, the English University Series and boxing abroad, worked as boxing coach for eight years outside of work, dabbled in acting, running and had a number of different volunteering experiences.
Since working with Commercial Solutions, I have moved back home to London and am enjoying the experience of settling into somewhere different and spending more time with family.
What is your role within the NHS Workforce Alliance and what does it involve?
As a category manager I am responsible for day-to-day management of the category and being responsible for a number of projects for our valued partner trusts.
Why are you passionate about this?
I am very passionate about workforce. I think it is the most critical category across the NHS and requires very considered focus to drive it forwards. Despite its really critical nature, I feel it has often been overlooked or put aside as an additional ‘add-on’ job and not given the focus and attention it deserves. As such, I am committed to seeing it develop to ensure the category has the appropriate management that gives our trusts an easy and smooth access to the market and a pleasant, clear experience for all workforce requirements.
What is the greatest challenge you face at work?
I think the greatest challenges of workforce are the shortages and scarcity of supply within the category. Understanding the challenges trusts face with growing demand, continued shortages through higher education and continued financial pressures – the category is inherently challenging. However, this also makes the wins extremely rewarding.
What was your first job and how has it impacted your career?
My first job at 16/17 was working in Toys R Us which was fun but also very demanding! Learning to be effective in helping customers in such a busy and hectic environment has been hugely helpful.
How would you spend a perfect day off?
A 7am five-mile run, lunch at a old fashioned country pub, swimming in the sea in the evening = heaven 😊.