Our long-term partnership with the single biggest employer in the UK champions inclusion and diversity, and helps young people explore NHS jobs and pathways.
NHS staff have supported Inspiring the Future from our early days, playing a key role as volunteers. In 2018, this led to the NHS Ambassadors campaign, supported by Health Education England, which aims to debunk young people’s preconceptions about roles in the NHS.
Complementing Inspiring the Future’s wider aims, NHS volunteers help raise young people’s aspirations, boost confidence and motivation, and show how school subjects can be useful later in life. They also encourage young people to see how their own experience relates to the caring professions and to find out about opportunities working in the NHS.
Over 6,000 NHS staff from across the UK have registered as NHS Ambassadors, reaching around 100,000 students each year.
NHS staff take part in a wide range of activities, from careers talks and mock interviews, to tailored support for school students at risk of unemployment, Oxbridge entrants, or those with barriers such as disability, language, or confidence.
Ambassadors also support curriculum delivery with subject talks, providing insights into subjects including science, dentistry, medicine, psychology, neuroscience, nursing, allied health professions, biology, mathematics, biology, business, management and English.
I learnt a lot about the opportunities within the NHS; it was surprising to find out that there are more than 350 job roles,”Student, year 11
The partnership has also involved a number of tailored activities including:
- A series of showcase events both at a regional level and nationally, highlighting career opportunities
- Video resources focusing on the different career paths available within the NHS
- Virtual work experience for health and social care students
- New video career stories over on our student-facing site, icould.com, featuring NHS Ambassadors
- Special sessions towards the start of the pandemic, giving children and young people the opportunity to ask questions and learn about Covid-19. Staff demonstrated PPE equipment, discussed ways to keep safe, and talked about mental health issues in a relatable way
Improving workforce development
Becoming an NHS Ambassador enables staff to reconnect with their careers and motivation, says Natasha Daviesat Health Education England. “It gives staff the opportunity to examine and question judgments of the NHS and their roles, and challenges them to step outside their comfort zones.”
Over 90 percent of NHS Ambassadors say they would recommend the programme to others, with reported benefits including new skills or experience; a sense of challenge and achievement; confidence gains; and feeling part of a community.
“My confidence in public speaking and group presentations has literally gone from next to nothing, all the way to being able to stand to a group of over 100 students and give a talk.”Daniel Duffield, Emergency medical technician apprentice
As part of the Ambassadors scheme, NHS staff are also involved with Inspiring Governance which matches volunteers with school governor vacancies and helps staff develop strategic leadership skills.
Broadening the reach of the NHS as an employer
The Ambassadors scheme reflects Health Education England’s strategic approaches to removing barriers in recruitment practice, addressing specific concerns around diversity within the workforce and recruiting people aged under 25.
Gender and ethnic origin of NHS volunteers are representative of the NHS workforce as a whole, with the scheme proving popular across grades, professions and experience levels.
NHS Ambassadors have further helped cement the role of the NHS in local communities, living the values of the NHS People Plan, which sets out what NHS staff can expect from their leaders and from each other.