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NHS launches 'Healthcare Horizons' programme in east London to secure its future

PUBLISHED: 19:00 23 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:04 24 January 2019

Healthcare Horizons programme launched by Barts Health NHS Trust. Picture: Mike Brooke

Healthcare Horizons programme launched by Barts Health NHS Trust. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

The first steps in getting into healthcare careers are being made for students and secondary pupils across east London with today’s launch of a programme “to secure the future of the NHS”.

Surgeon Elly Brockbank showing how a 'robot' console operates on patients. Picture: Mike BrookeSurgeon Elly Brockbank showing how a 'robot' console operates on patients. Picture: Mike Brooke

The Healthcare Horizons programme set up by Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London, Mile End and Newham hospitals, aims to create awareness of the range of careers and sets a path to higher education to help long-term recruitment.

More than 1,000 students and pupils from 20 colleges and secondary schools in Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham and Waltham Forest are to take part in the 18-month programme to give them a taster of stepping into the shoes of healthcare workers.

They can take part in ‘career awareness’ sessions and get work experience placements which include seeing at first hand how an operating theatre works in the high-tech simulation suite at the Royal London.

It allows school-leavers like Mehwish Iqbal, 17, who got an apprenticeship last year after work experience at the hospital in Whitedchapel, to combine study and work at the same time, to graduate with a Level 3 qualification in Business Admin.

NHS career in science research at the Royal London's labs. Picture: Barts NHSNHS career in science research at the Royal London's labs. Picture: Barts NHS

“I didn’t realise there were so many types of roles in the NHS,” she admits. “I’m always learning new life skills, and being exposed to real life situations makes it easier to secure jobs in the long run.”

Healthcare Horizons has been set up to promote the opportunities in the NHS and boost recruitment, giving advice on completing university applications as well as teaching interview skills. Regular events are also planned to help graduates and school-leavers go straight into NHS jobs.

Barts Health trust’s strategy is “growing the workforce of the future” to improve the health of the population and combat staffing shortages.

The trust’s Andrew Attfield said: “The NHS is the largest employer in Britain with so many career pathways. We’ll help young people secure their dream job and build an ambitious future for our NHS.”

Youngsters can get work experience placements which include seeing how an operating theatre works at the Royal London. Picture: Mike BrookeYoungsters can get work experience placements which include seeing how an operating theatre works at the Royal London. Picture: Mike Brooke

The programme is funded by Barts Charity and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation “to help young people in east London into careers regardless of their starting point in life and the barriers they faced”.

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