“Young people find it easy to resonate and connect with inspiring people that may look like them. ‘If they can do it, if they can achieve it, then so can I’.”
Can you tell us a little bit about your organisation?
HEE exists for one reason only: to support the delivery of excellent healthcare and health improvement to the patients and public of England by ensuring that the workforce of today and tomorrow has the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours, at the right time and in the right place.
How long has your organisation worked with Inspiring the Future / Primary Futures, and what inspired you to join the programme?
We have had NHS volunteers involved since the programme launched in 2009, however we launched our dedicated campaign, NHS Ambassadors in 2018.
We believe that the most important resource the NHS has is its people: without a skilled workforce there is no NHS. There are few careers that are as rewarding as one in the NHS, or that give you the opportunity to work with such a variety of people. Our work covers more than 100 programmes from planning and commissioning, to recruiting and developing healthcare staff in a range of healthcare and community settings. HEE teamed up with Inspiring the Future to get more NHS staff into schools on a regular basis, talking about the breadth of interesting roles available and encouraging school children of all ages to consider a career in the NHS. Inspiring the Future is one of our key partners in volunteering as it allows NHS staff to share their time and skills with young people across the UK.
What difference does your organisation want to make for young people through volunteering?
More than 160,000 students are at this moment studying to be part of our future workforce. That includes doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, physiotherapists and many more roles – in fact there are over 300 different types of jobs performed by more than one million people in the NHS.
Our vision is to provide the right workforce, with the right skills and values, in the right place at the right time to better meet the needs and wants of patients – now and in the future. In order to achieve this we need to work collaboratively. The opportunities offered by a career in the NHS have never been better, with roles ranging from the essential day to day caring responsibilities – to the highly technical, research, executive leadership – and many, many more.
Through our campaign, we want young people to know about the exciting breadth of careers available; we want teachers to promote a job within the NHS as career of choice, we want NHS staff to reignite their pride in their professions, and we want system leaders and decision makers to make sure the NHS remains the important institution it has become.
Our NHS Ambassador programme aims to:
- Develop young people’s interest in health-related areas
- Promoting the health sector as offering career choice for young people
- Supporting the raising of standards and young people’s attainment
- Encouraging young people to aspire to reach their full potential
- Developing teachers’ professional understanding of the health sector
- Supporting work-related and applied learning requirements in schools.
What events and activities has your organisation taken part in?
We have a record 3,500 NHS volunteers registered with Inspiring the Future who go out and talk to young people about their job.With the National Health Service turning 70 in July 2018 we saw this as the perfect opportunity to team up with Inspiring the Future to celebrate the achievements of one of the nation’s most loved institutions, as well as to inspire the future NHS workforce. From this date we began running the first of our “Inspiring the Future of the NHS”. These events in schools across the country, are focused around highlighting jobs within HEE and NHS to young people.
What has been the best part about working our programme?
We are proud to be a part of the wider work that HEE and the NHS are doing to develop its continuous process of involvement with young people and helping young people understand the variety of roles that exist in the NHS.
NHS Ambassadors offers a model for improving career provisions for young people based on the idea of volunteers sharing their unique story with young people. HEE staff and wider NHS staff can take on a wide range of volunteering opportunities themselves within the health and social care sector. Inspiring the Future offers staff a unique opportunity to connect with young people, to have meaningful interactions and they only need commit an hour per year of their time.
What has your organisation learnt about yourselves and about young people?
Young people find it easy to resonate and connect with inspiring people that may look like them. “If they can do it, if they can achieve it, then so can I”. It’s so important to bring to life careers in healthcare through real people.
What would you say to other organisations thinking of volunteering with our programme?
Go for it, you have no reason not to. If you want to inspire fresh talent, encourage fantastic, bright, forward thinking people to come and work in your organisation, ignite the flame, speak and meet with young people through Inspiring the Future.
What difference do you think you’ve made to the lives of young people?
Hopefully opening young people’s eyes to the breadth of careers available within the NHS. Doctors and nurses are on the vital frontline, but they aren’t the whole story, there are so many opportunities and so many varied and interesting careers available within the NHS, and wider social care.
Get involved as an employer
NHS volunteers, sign up with our NHS Ambassadors campaign