Health Education East Midlands – Engaging with young people – Securing our future NHS workforce


In order to promote careers in the NHS, Health Education East Midlands (HEEM) commissioned Enact Solutions to put together a fast-paced, fun, interactive drama-based performance for key stage 3-4 students. Packed with information, the show conveys the variety of NHS roles, while challenging stereotypes and explaining about training opportunities, scope for career progression, and where students can source further advice.

It was found that young people in the East Midlands were not aware of the range of jobs available to them within the NHS. They only knew about doctors, nurses and paramedics (ie those they saw on television). Therefore, they wanted to establish a way to introduce the other 350+ roles available to them.

They approached Enact Solutions, a company performing theatre in education, to develop a show to engage directly with these young people to open their eyes to the possibilities that exist within the NHS.

This now helps support Health Education England’s (HEE) strategic framework for Bands 1-4 (Talent for Care), which promotes entry to healthcare jobs. The performance also leads the audience to ways in which they can learn more like the ‘Step into the NHS website’ that encourages the audience to use #StepintotheNHS. The performance also advises the audience to speak with their own local careers advisor and head of years. 57% of students surveyed said they would go to the Step into the NHS website to further their understanding of NHS careers. When asked, ‘Has today’s performance increased your interest in a career in the NHS or not?’ 74% said ‘Yes’.

The performance promotes work-based learning routes into the NHS, including traineeships, apprenticeships and work experience, so the students understand the alternatives to university an NHS career can offer. We also make a conscious effort to focus on schools in areas of deprivation and low socio-economic status, therefore increasing the aspiration of pupils who would not normally consider a career with us.

When asked how likely it is that pupils would aim for a career in the NHS after seeing the performance, 56% said they were either ‘Likely’ or ‘Very likely’. One student tweeted after the show: “#stepintothenhs performance was rad today tbh, I’m actually thinking about looking for jobs within the NHS!”

Funded by HEEM at a cost of less than £4 per student, and free to schools, the 30-minute NHS Success! performance was enacted to 40 schools and over 6,100 students, 130 teachers and 12 parents throughout 2015.

About the author

NHS Professionals administrator

NHS Professionals manages the temporary staffing needs of around 66 NHS Trusts across England. An integral part of the NHS, it aims to reduce Trusts’ spending on flexible workers without compromising quality, by providing greater transparency of demand and supplying bank staff at the best possible rate. Its bank of more than 40,000 flexible workers comprises general and specialist nurses, doctors, midwives, admin/clerical , allied health professionals, healthcare scientists, support services among other healthcare professionals.

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