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Inspiring the NHS workforce of the future

17 September 2019

NHS schools competition launches to break down stereotypes and raise career aspirations

Competitions aiming to support long-term NHS workforce supply have been launched today by Health Education England.

Step into the NHS inspires students in primary and secondary schools in England by helping them learn about the range of job roles and future opportunities in the NHS. It also looks to breakdown gender stereotypes of certain roles like doctors and nurses.

The competitions have captured the imagination of school children across the country over the last eleven years with thousands of students taking part. The secondary school competition asks students to create a job description and advertisement for an NHS role of their choice, while the primary school competition, which is only in its second year, invites students to design a ‘thank you’ to the NHS and its staff.

Teachers can easily download free lesson resources and find out competition details on the website here: https://www.stepintothenhs.nhs.uk/schools. The resources can be used as part of the KS2 and KS3 curriculum, linking through to literacy and PSHE.

The NHS is the UK’s biggest employer with 1.7 million staff across the UK in more than 350 different roles.

Ian Cumming, Chief Executive at Health Education England, said:

“Careers education should be focused on broadening horizons and raising aspirations, giving children and young people a wide range of experiences of the world of work. Step into the NHS does just that by making students aware of the variety of roles in the NHS from drama therapists and radiographers, to paramedics and nurses to inspire the next generation of NHS employees. I can’t wait to see what students create in this year’s entries.”

Bethany’s story

Bethany Ojigbo won the very first Step into the NHS schools competition eleven years ago. Her experience with the competition led her to exploring the range of health and care careers. She is now a senior staff nurse working in the care sector.

Bethany said: “I remember doing the Step into the NHS schools competition when I was in year 8 which inspired me to investigate roles in healthcare. I was interested in biological science as well as counselling and helping others so nursing seemed the perfect fit.”

The resources help secondary schools meet the Gatsby Benchmarks and allow primary schools carry out the DfE’s Careers Strategy in a rare opportunity to teach careers at KS2.

The entry deadline for secondary schools is 31st January 2020 and for primary schools it is 1st May 2020.