From education to employment

Students experience health and care skills for the future

75 students from secondary schools in Calderdale and Kirklees have taken part in an exciting skills initiative designed to promote the career opportunities on offer in the health and care sector. Funded by Health Education England, and delivered by Ahead Partnership, the ‘Let’s Talk Health and Care Experience Day’ was designed to help young people understand the different roles and career opportunities on offer and help to fill future skills gaps.

The latest initiative provided an opportunity for students from Honley High School, Netherhall High School and North Huddersfield Trust School to meet face-to-face with professionals working in the field of health and care from the University of Huddersfield’s School of Human and Health Sciences; Kirklees CCG; Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust; and Kirklees College and learn more about their job roles. Students undertook a variety of activities and interactive events, such as workshops, speaker sessions, speed networking, employer engagement and an interactive ‘Family Fortunes’-style game.

This flagship event forms part of the Kirklees and Calderdale Health and Care Pathways Project which seeks to develop young people’s understanding of opportunities within the sector, supporting increased interest from young people in jobs in health and care following the pandemic – for example an Engineering UK survey saw almost a quarter of 11-19 year olds say they were more likely to pursue a career in the healthcare sector since the coronavirus outbreak.

The event demonstrates Ahead Partnership’s continued focus on the health and care sector, having delivered two highly successful years of activities for young people alongside partners in Calderdale and Kirklees in 2020 and 2021. Ahead Partnership is also working with C&K Careers on the delivery of the programme.

Stephanie Burras CBE, chief executive of Ahead Partnership, said:

“Increasing understanding around health and care employment opportunities is incredibly important as we look to engage, inspire and upskill the next generation of healthcare professionals. The ‘Let’s Talk Health and Care’ day has proved highly popular and brought together a range of expert partners from across Calderdale and Kirklees to impart their knowledge and ensure we develop the skills needed to fill the employment opportunities of tomorrow.”

“Health and care is one of Ahead Partnership’s key areas of focus as one of the high-growth and in demand sectors in West Yorkshire. The past two years have taught us how important showcasing careers in these areas and giving young people the opportunity to meet role models is, and seeing the positive reaction from students has been fantastic.”

Steve Brennan, Kirklees Place Programme Director for the Kirklees Health and Care System, said:

“We know just how many amazing opportunities are available to young people in health and care, so it’s fantastic that this event has enabled students to find out more and meet with some of the inspiring people already working in the regional sector.

“In turn, this will help us to ensure that we can provide the candidates needed to fulfil important roles in the future, as skills demands continue to evolve.”

Professor Nick Hardiker, Acting Dean of the School of Human and Health Sciences at the University of Huddersfield, said:

“This initiative showcases the benefits of collaboration between organisations across the public and private sector. A ‘whole system’ approach is needed to plug potential skills gaps and ensure a diverse and inclusive sector for the future. Our role in this is to capture interest from younger generations and ensure that they understand the skills suitable for the health and care system of the future.”

Future roles for young people include a variety of fulfilling careers within NHS Trusts and other health and care providers. Of those taking part, the number of students interested in a career in the sector increased from 49% before the event to 82% after the event.

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