Young people lack a proper understanding of career oppourtunities within the NHS.
NHS Careers polled 1,000 young people aged 11-16 and their parents, to coincide with its ‘Step into the NHS’ schools’ competition to encourage young people to consider a career in the health service.
The survey found that toung people were not well informed about what was actually involved. 75% felt that it was essential to be able to handle the sight of blood – but this is not a day to day task for many of the NHS’ 1.3 million staff which includes IT workers, communications staff and estates managers.
Sixty percent of 11-16 year olds were also convinced that it was important to be good at science to work in the NHS. Although around 55,000 healthcare scientists are employed by the NHS, with a workforce of 1.3 million there’s plenty of other roles such as librarian and play coordinator which don’t need science qualifications.
Girls were more knowledgeable than boys about the range of careers on offer, recognising that speech therapists, catering staff and IT managers all have a role to play in making sure patients are treated swiftly and effectively.
Parents are also key influencers in young people’s perception of careers, and twice as many dads (50%) than mums (23%) were “very concerned” about their children’s career prospects. In a separate poll to find the reasons for concern, economic climate came top for both mums and dads. Dads were also almost twice as likely to recommend working in the NHS to their children.
Alan Simmons, careers consultant at NHS Careers, said:
“Our poll has revealed a positive attitude towards future careers in the NHS amongst 11-16 year olds. But many young people don’t fully appreciate the full range of careers on offer in the NHS.
“With over 350 job roles, working in the NHS can mean a lot more than being a doctor or nurse – roles traditionally associated with the NHS. The NHS needs a whole team of staff, from paramedics to speech and language therapists, secretaries to cooks, to make sure that patients receive the best care possible.”