University initiative to encourage local students into health & social care careers

Mon 22 April, 2024
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Local schoolchildren were recently encouraged to think about a career in health and social care, with a number of outreach events hosted by the University of Bedfordshire.

170 students from 10 schools across Luton, Bedford and Milton Keynes were treated to tours of the University’s simulation suites, where health and social care students have access to realistic facilities and spaces designed to mimic real-life situations.

The events also featured a panel discussion bringing together a diverse range of voices from the industry who explained the need to develop an inclusive health and social care workforce and shared their career experiences.

Professor Nasreen Ali, Professor of Public Health Equality at Bedfordshire, said: “We welcomed students and teachers to enjoy a fun-filled day engaging in discussions about 'getting into' health and social care courses and careers, salaries, lived experience stories and giving them understanding and experience of clinical situations by visiting our simulation suites.

“We wanted to engage and inspire students so they feel comfortable to consider health and social care courses and careers because a workforce that reflects the communities it serves and is culturally responsive is linked to improvements in quality of care for patients, better adherence to medical and self-care regimes and improved outcomes.”

The interactive events were part of the Collaborative Targeted Outreach Programme (CTOP), which aims to engage with young people, parents, career-switchers, and under-represented groups from diverse ethnic backgrounds to improve their knowledge and perceptions of nursing, midwifery, allied health professions and social work.

The two events received glowing feedback from students and teachers who attended, with one teacher from Putteridge High School saying: “I think that there are lots of students that don’t really know this side of the job and for them to come in and see it all first hand and to be so excited was a great opportunity. Particularly the midwifery and policing suites, they were really inspiring for the students.”

These outreach events also closely link with the University’s Civic Agreement commitments alongside Luton Council, as well as the priorities of the Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System (BLMK ICS).

Martha Roberts, chief people officer at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said: “Building the NHS and social care workforce of the future means that we are really keen to work with today’s young people, their schools and colleges, to give them a taster of the exciting things we currently do.  We also want to show them the rapid pace of technology which is going to allow us to provide care very differently in years to come.

“It’s an exciting time to be considering a career in the health and care sector, and I hope to see many of these students joining us in the future.”


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