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Widening Participation

The aim of the Widening Participation programme is to provide work experience and enrichment opportunities for young people and those not in employment, education or training, to increase their knowledge and awareness of the wide range of career opportunities within the NHS, to encourage them to consider a career within the NHS and to support them in choosing the right path and entry route for their chosen career.​

The programme provides participants with first-hand experience of life within a major acute hospital environment, allows access to a wide range of health professionals in a friendly informal setting and the opportunity to take part in hands-on activities designed to support academic curriculum, as well as dispel many of the myths, assumptions and misinformation gained from the media.

  • Raise career aspirations, particularly within schools with low academic achievement and help with progression to higher education

  • Improve careers advice and guidance provided to young people

  • Support GCSE, BTEC and A-Level curriculum for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), Health & Social care and personal development

  • Increase awareness of NHS careers in line with the Trust's future workforce needs

  • Support entry into further education, higher education and employment by improving employability skills

  • Increase recruitment of young people to the Trust from the local area

  • Reduce inappropriate admissions to A&E by promoting positive health messages 

Work experience at University Hospitals of North Midlands offers a great opportunity to sample a career in the NHS and gain more experience.  Work experience is available in a variety of clinical and non-clinical areas (age limits apply) and typically lasts for one week (Mon-Fri) 9am-5pm. It can be longer or shorter, depending on the department.

 Work experience is typically available for:

  • Secondary school students wishing to affirm their career aspirations or support college/sixth form applications

  • College/sixth form students wishing to meet enrichment requirements of further education courses or to support personal statements for applications to higher education (UCAS)

  • Adults not in employment, education or training wishing to retrain and re-entre the workplace

  • Adults in employment looking for a change in career

This is usually a half-day opportunity for teachers to shadow you in your role to gain a greater understanding of roles within the NHS and how elements of the curriculum they teach relate to real world experiences.​

University Hospitals of North Midlands and Keele University are running a series of one-day Summer Schools for students aged 14-17.  The summer schools are designed to provide, year 10, 11 and 12 students who have the potential and aspiration to become tomorrow's healthcare professionals the opportunity to gain a greater insight into their chosen career and to meet clinical and education staff from both University Hospitals and Keele University. 

Summer Schools are available for Medicine, Nursing, Midwifery, Physiotherapy and Pharmacy.

Health Society is a programme designed to inspire and guide the next generation of healthcare professionals.  The programme is available to secondary schools and FE colleges/sixth forms across Staffordshire and consists of selected groups of students with a keen interest in developing a career within the NHS. Students meet regularly to take part in enrichment activities and discuss health-related topics supported by the Widening Participation Team and UHNM Ambassadors.

Sessions can range from a one-hour session to a full day event and are supported by Ambassadors from UHNM, Keele University and Staffordshire University.  In exchange for our support, students taking part in the programme have the opportunity to serve as health champions for the Trust, disseminating health messages, supporting national campaigns and taking part in patient experience activities.

These are typically short Powerpoint presentations (30 minutes) on specific subjects, for groups of between 10 and 30 students, which take place at the Trust or in a school or college.  Talks may be about a staff ambassador's personal career journey, a specific department or a science curriculum or health promotion-related topic.

These sessions usually take between one and two hours and are more informal talks with students which involve a 'speed dating'-style activity.  There are typically five or six ambassadors involved in the session. Students split into a small group (four or five) and talk to an ambassador about their career, role and department for around 20 minutes before moving to the next ambassador.  These are very popular with students and don't require any preparation by the ambassadors. ​

These are tours of specific departments within the Trust for up to 12 students and usually take around an hour. Tours are designed to support the STEM and Health and Social Care curriculum in schools and colleges.​

These are more in-depth sessions and are usually around two hours in length and focus on a particular practical activity. They typically take place at the Trust but can also take place at a school or college. 

The Widening Participation team has a range of equipment and activity plans available to deliver these sessions.  Activities can include:

  • venepuncture, cannulation and intramuscular injections

  • ECG demonstration

  • Infection control and hand-washing techniques

  • Patient observation techniques including pulse, blood pressure, temperature, blood oxygen

  • Patient care, which includes a feeding exercise, bariatric and age-suit demonstrations, clinical manual handling and bed making techniques

  • Employability skills, which includes interview skills, UCAS and job application-writing and mock interviews

  • Presentations designed to reduce admissions to A&E, including asthma and diabetes awareness, sexual health smoking cessation, drug and alcohol misuse and healthy eating

  • NHS Values and Behaviours and NHS Constitution​

This usually involves attending a careers fair, Industry Day or parents' evening organised by a school, college or Trust-organised promotional event. These events give students insight into career opportunities within the NHS and are often attended by students and their parents.  The Widening Participation team has a display stand and promotional literature to accompany ambassadors at these events.


For more information please regarding the Widening Participation programme please contact:

Learning, Education & Widening Participation Team​

Healthcare Careers and Skills Academy, Parish Building C, Royal Stoke University Hospital, Newcastle Road, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. ST4 6QG