Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Humber teenagers begin ‘cadet’ course as way into nursing


A group of 10 Lincolnshire teenagers are the first to embark on a “healthcare cadet” scheme in their region, which is designed to offer a new path into nursing.

The two-year training programme is a joint venture between Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust and John Leggott College in Scunthorpe, and combines hands-on work experience with study.

“We’re investing in local people by helping them get the clinical skills they need and guaranteeing them a job at the end of the course”

Simon Dunn

The aim is for the healthcare cadets, all aged between 16 and 18, to gain the skills needed to become healthcare assistants, graduating with a Level 3 extended diploma in health and social care.

They will spend three days in college and two days on the wards at either Scunthorpe or Grimsby hospitals, where it is hoped they will gain practical experience of healthcare.

Those who successfully complete the training are promised a job.

“We’re forging these links with the local college to strengthen our workforce now and secure it for the future,” said Simon Dunn, head of organisational development and workforce planning at the trust.

He added: “We’re investing in local people by helping them get the clinical skills they need and guaranteeing them a job at the end of the course.”

Emily Hughes, assistant principal at the college, said the scheme was unique in the Humber region.

“This creative, innovative and hands-on programme will aid young people from across the area to get the academic and clinical experience required to support progression to nursing and highly competitive roles and courses within the sector,” she said.


Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust

Demi Walker and Estelle Cocking learning how to test blood pressure

One of the recruits is 16-year-old Demi Walker from Aylesbury, who will be based at Grimsby hospital and has already done work experience on the wards there.

“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse as I have a passion for helping people,” she said. “My recent time on the wards made me realise even more just how much I wanted to be a nurse.

“When I heard about the course I liked the idea of having more work experience alongside my studies,” she said.

Estelle Cocking, aged 16, from Gainsborough, will be based at Scunthorpe hospital.

“I was going to do my A-levels bit I saw this course and thought it would be more useful with the experience it offers and it will be a quicker way into the profession,” she said.

“I think the best way to get into nursing is to get the hands on experience, which this course offers,” she added.


Readers' comments (8)

  • Here we go again, the circle comes around again!! Having said that as an older nurse I have to say that cadet/ prenursing courses always played an important part in students gaining a real insight into what nursing entails. Far less expensive in time and money to decide it is not for you at aged 16 - 18 than when at Uni. When in training afterwards they will not have the shock of the realities of care. Certainly the majority of my prenup sing students stayed the course in nursing whilst others fell by the wayside.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I became a cadet nurse in 1961, attending college at the same time.
    Some dropped out in that time realising that nursing was not for them. The rest went on to be SRN/SRCNs
    Its a time of training I would not have missed as it gave me a picture of what was ahead, the joys and the heartaches involved in the job and the hard work involved.
    I retired 2 years ago seeing nursing as a divided profession with NMC trying to rule the roost and NHS at breaking point The government allowing foreign staff to come in & take the jobs of newly qualified nurses rather than give them a year of experience/training in the job. Trusts, Foundation Trusts and all the other 'Independants' and not least the Profit before care companies moving in to asset strip.
    I wish these Cadet Nurses well in their future careers and wonder what changes they will endure

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It is important to attract young people into the profession and starting at 16-18 could be the answer. However although there will be advantages (no child care concerns and few bills to worry about if living with parents), there will also be disadvantages. At such a young age young people may be attracted to the film and TV vision of nursing without understanding the reality of it (something not necessarily limited to the young I accept), they may decide that it is not for them. Unfortunately without A levels their choices will be severely limited.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I also was a cadet nurse in 1962 working 42 hrs per week which included two days at the tech. However we did not only work on wards but also in other departments. Linen room, xray, path lab, physio, pharmacy, outpatients and the dreaded matron's office. We learnt how departments were run and the problems they had. We learnt the importance of cleanliness, patient interaction, discipline and that nursing was a profession to be proud of. I gained SRN, RSCN with only one GCE which shows that a degree is not necessary to become a good caring nurse. Good luck to the cadets and let's hope you find nursing rewarding as I have.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Excellent. Very best of luck to them all.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Why are there not cadet places for other Professions? Surely future Doctors could do a two year course ?I am not denigrating experience, just questioning why Nursing is yet again portrayed as different from other careers.
    Why is the cohort predominantly female and also why is one of the illustrations "students learning to take B.P?"
    Why not put a cap on them then and reinforce that's all nurses do?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Reinventing the wheel springs to mind! I was a cadet in the 70's it certainly does give you an insight into what real nursing entails and how a hospital works from top to bottom.All of my group who had been cadets prior to training completed the course and went on to practice for many years. It can help to dispel the TV glossy image of hospitals and nursing and reduce the drop out rate from uni courses which are very expensive and have denied a place to others.I hope it proves successful and is rolled out to other areas.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Just as I'm likely to be on my way out of being a Registered Nurse, Cadet Health Care workers are on their way back in. My career, which started in Cadetship, involved my becoming a Head of Social Care, as well as having been a Head of Nursing, so I welcome this new Health & Social Care initiative.
    The other difference for these young people, which isn't as attractive, is that they will be joining a much more fragmented, politicised, insecure and stressful working environment, than was my experience as a young professional; which is a shame...(shameful).
    My advice: Always remember that the most important people in your working life will always be those patients and clients for which you are responsible; and, throughout your career: never let process trump purpose (but think carefully about the purpose of an activity, before dismissing it as unnecessary process)....Got that? "Simples", I don't think. Good Luck, enjoy!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.