From education to employment

NHS gives work experience to 10,000 future nurses with Speakers for Schools

Introducing students to careers in the NHS with work experience in partnership with Speakers for Schools

Applications are now open for the NHS NextGen Nurse programme, offering free placements for 10,000 14-19 year olds.

As the NHS struggles with capacity shortages, growing the nursing workforce is a massive national priority with huge potential for sustained employment growth in roles that span the worlds of science, technology and innovation through to leadership, management, and collaboration.

To introduce students to nursing, the NHS has partnered with social mobility charity Speakers for Schools to offer 10,000 work experience placements, with applications now open.

NHS England recognises that its workforce needs to reflect the diversity of the population it serves, so they have created an exciting yearlong project to entice more young people from across England into fulfilling NHS careers through an exclusive series of eye-opening, expert-led, virtual work experiences.

The programme – known as the NHS NextGen Nurse programme – will run from the start of the current academic year through to March 2023 and is freely available to any 14-19-year-olds who attend a UK state secondary school or college.

What will the work experience sessions focus on?

Ask most young people what a nurse does and they will have a rough idea, but they will not necessarily appreciate the huge variety of roles available or the flexibility and opportunities for career progression that nursing allows. They may also harbour some unhelpful preconceptions around who can be a nurse.

The NHS NextGen Nurse programme aims to address these gaps and/or misconceptions by providing educators with a selection of easy and accessible options for FREE online work experiences that can expand students’ knowledge and understanding of careers in nursing.

Work experience that caters for all levels of knowledge

By encouraging your students to take part in these live, interactive sessions facilitated by experts and staff from the NHS, they can build their knowledge and develop their skills and understanding in a safe and supportive space – whether they are starting from a baseline of no knowledge, mildly curious about nursing careers or already quite well-informed and looking for more detail around a specific area of nursing such as Adult nursing, Children`s nursing, Learning Disability nursing or Mental Health nursing or another specialism.

Young people who have taken part in the sessions already this academic year are quick to acknowledge the value of the sessions:

“It has helped, as it has informed me about the different careers and jobs, I can do in the NHS, and it has also made me really want to work in healthcare.”

“This placement gave me more of an idea of the different fields of nursing and has convinced me to consider nursing when choosing my university course.”

“I resonated with the nurses experience of why they wanted to go into their profession.”

“ I now have a clearer idea of what my future might look like. All of those involved were very welcoming and I had the chance not only to interact with the nurses and hear about their jobs and also the struggles they have faced but with other participants who have similar goals that I have.”

Flexible options to suit everyone

To ensure that you and your students can access the placements at a time that suits, the programme offers plenty of flexibility when it comes to the dates, timings and durations of the sessions. Young people can choose from:

  • Insight Days that last several hours and give an overview of nursing or a particular speciality or
  • Longer placements lasting 2-5 days that provide a deeper dive into the nursing profession where they can explore a wider variety of specialities.

To make sure no one ever misses out, the various types of sessions are repeated at select intervals throughout the year. This means that there is plenty of capacity to accommodate your students.

To allow you and your colleagues the opportunity to coordinate careers education activities with other key dates in the curriculum, there are also opportunities to join themed NHS NextGen Nurse sessions that coincide with Black History Month, National Apprenticeship Week, International Women’s Day and many more.

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