FAQs for teachers and careers advisers
This page has some frequently asked questions that teachers and careers advisers often ask us.
- Does Health Careers provide careers literature for schools and careers organisations?
- Are apprenticeships available in the health sector?
- Someone recently mentioned that they’d heard about an apprenticeship in nursing. Do these exist?
- A couple of my students said that they’d heard about an apprenticeship in midwifery. Do these exist?
- Where can I find job vacancies in the health sector?
- What is available on the Health Careers website?
- Can someone from the NHS come into my school/college and give a careers talk to my students? Can someone represent the NHS at my forthcoming careers event?
- How can my students get work experience in the NHS?
- How can I help my students who are taking/planning to take a degree and want to work in the NHS afterwards?
- What financial support is available to students?
- Where can I find more information about careers in the health sector?
Does Health Careers provide any resources - such as careers literature, for schools and careers organisations?
Although Health Careers does not produce careers literature specifically for schools and careers organisations, we do have a suite of resources, which is appropriate for all ages. These include:
- Introductory booklet, 350 Careers, One NHS, Your Future, providing an overview of the many careers available.
- Inspirational postcards - a series of eye-catching postcards which aim to bust some of the myths about working in the NHS, provide information about NHS apprenticeships and encourage people to look to the NHS for a more satisfying career.
All of the above publications can be downloaded from our resources section. Read more detail about the latest Health Careers literature here.
Schools, colleges, universities and other organisations in England can order stocks of our literature by calling us on 0345 60 60 655.
Quantities are limited to a maximum of 150 copies of the booklet and 30 copies of each postcard.
We also have a range of resources to help teachers and careers advisers engage with the people they provide careers advice to. These include:.
- An online toolkit of activities and multimedia resources that support careers education and PSHE at Key Stage 4.
- An annual schools competition for students in Years 8 and 9
- A guide to work experience in the NHS.
- A course finder which lists all clinical courses leading to professional registration.
- A termly e-newsletter to keep you up to date on the latest changes and developments in the various health professions. Please register with this site to receive this.
Yes, apprenticeships are available in a range of patient-facing and non patient-facing roles. Examples include healthcare support, healthcare assistant, healthcare science assistant, healthcare science associate, pharmacy technician, business administration, health records and ICT support. Apprenticeships are being developed at intermediate, advanced, higher and degree level.
Some clinical roles have traditionally been entered only via an approved full-time degree or postgraduate course. This is changing as a number of degree level apprenticeship standards have already been approved and vacancies advertised in nursing, occupational therapy, podiatry and areas of healthcare science. A number of standards have been approved in other roles too with more in development.
A nursing degree apprenticeship has been approved for delivery leading to professional registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Each employer decides whether it will offer apprenticeships and a number of healthcare providers across England have advertised vacancies for nursing degree apprentices. Level 3 qualifications will typically be required for entry, although another route into a nursing degree apprenticeship can be through the role of nursing associate. Find out more about training to be a nurse.
A couple of my students said that they’d heard about an apprenticeship in midwifery. Do these exist?
Key sources relevant to vacancies in the health sector include:
- vacancies in organisations delivering NHS healthcare can be found on the NHS Jobs website
- opportunities in the Civil Service can be found on the Civil Service Jobs website
- vacancies in local government can be found on the Local Government Jobs website and the Jobs Go Public website
- vacancies for apprenticeships appear on the Gov.uk website
- vacancies for traineeships appear on the Gov.uk website
As well as these sources, suitable vacancies in the health sector can sometime sbe found by contacting local employers directly, searching in local newspapers and by using the Universal Jobmatch tool.
Our explore roles section provides details of around 300 plus careers in the health sector, including information on the roles, training, pay, entry requirements, case studies and further sources of information.
You can compare up to 3 roles, side by side, using our compare roles feature
If you're not sure which careers you might be suited to, use our Find your career tool. This asks you 105 questions and matches your answers to careers in the NHS. These might be patient-facing roles or could be behind the scenes.
There is a course finder tool to identify universities that are approved to run clinical courses leading to statutory registration (eg nursing, medicine, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dental hygiene etc).
Can someone from the NHS come into my school/college and give a careers talk to my students? Can someone represent the NHS at my forthcoming careers event?
Unfortunately, Health Careers is not resourced to attend events at individual schools or colleges.
Currently over 1,000 separate organisations provide NHS services in England and each is an employer in its own right. These organisations include acute (hospital) trusts, ambulance service trusts, mental health trusts, social enterprises, private healthcare providers and charities.
- In the first instance, you could visit the Inspiring the Future website This website connects teachers and volunteers from various backgrounds through a secure website, selecting people who best meet the needs of their students from a range of sectors and professions. Since 2015, more and more staff from the NHS have been volunteering their services.
- Similarly, STEMNet (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics network) works with thousands of schools, colleges and STEM employers to enable young people of all backgrounds and abilities to meet inspiring role models, understand real world applications of STEM subjects and experience hands-on STEM activities that motivate, inspire and bring learning and career opportunities to life. STEM volunteers (ambassadors) come from all sectors and not just healthcare. It operates in a similar way to Inspiring the Future – matching ambassadors with schools and colleges. Find out about STEM ambassadors in your area You can register with the STEMNet to request a STEM ambassador to visit your school or college.
- You could approach your local NHS organisation(s) and ask them if they can provide a representative. You should ask to speak to someone in the human resources department, voluntary services or learning and development departments. You may be referred to a specific person within the trust whose role may include this type of work. Details of NHS organisations in England can be found on the NHS Choices website. If you are in Wales, visit the NHS Wales website. The employer list section on the NHS Jobs website also contains general contact details for organisations delivering NHS healthcare in England and Wales.
- You could also see if your local university run NHS-funded/healthcare courses, and approach them. You can use our course finder to find out which universities are running health-related courses in your region. They may not be able to provide an overview of the range of careers in the NHS, but you could supplement any input with literature from Health Careers.
Giving students and others the chance to experience work within healthcare can present challenges for some NHS organisations. Quality of care and patient confidentiality are paramount, so careful consideration has to be given to where work experience students can go, when they can come and what they can do.
If you are responsible for organising work experience in schools or colleges, you may find our work experience toolkit helpful.
Additionally, there are a few things to be aware of:
- NHS healthcare in England is currently provided by around 1,000 individual organisations and each is an employer in its own right with responsibility for its own policies on employment, work experience, volunteering etc. There are significant differences in approach to providing work experience across the NHS. Use the NHS Jobs website to search for organisations delivering NHS services across England and Wales
- There are different types of NHS organisations - including hospital (acute) trusts, mental health trusts, ambulance service trusts, community-based providers and social enterprises. The NHS in your area may well be represented by at least three or four different trusts and any or all of these could offer work experience opportunities. Use the NHS Jobs website to search for organisations delivering NHS services across England and Wales
- Universities courses in nursing, medicine and other clinical areas rarely require experience of working in the NHS. Instead they often look for experience of care work or customer care. If your students are seeking some sort of caring experience, then the NHS is just one possible place they could try. There are independent healthcare providers (including private hospitals, clinics, care homes, nurseries) and a whole host of charities. There are also volunteering organisations, such as Volunteering England, Volunteering Matters and Do it!
Volunteering is an excellent way of gaining experience, and seeing whether they are suited to a particular type of work. It’s also a great way to boost their confidence and they can give something back to the community. See our page about different ways to gain experience
How can I help my students who are taking/planning to take a degree and want to work in the NHS afterwards?
In terms of information on particular careers, our explore roles section has lots of information.
Anyone applying for a role or training position either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services will be asked to show how they think the NHS values apply in their everyday work. The same will be true if they are applying for a university course with placements in the NHS. The NHS values form a key part of the NHS Constitution.
Please see our page on financial support at university.
You can find more information about careers in the health sector by visiting our explore roles section.
We also have lots of FAQs about careers in the health sector.