‘Mini scrubs’ project aims to open up health and social care jobs to schoolchildren – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

To spark children’s curiosity and interest in working in health and social care, each primary, first and special school throughout Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland will receive clinical-quality ‘mini scrubs’ during the Autumn 2022 term.

There are more than 350 different job roles under the umbrella of health and social care. The mini scrubs packs delivered to schools will feature 25 of them, helping to opening the eyes of young people to the wealth of jobs available, many of which are non-clinical.

Those interested in working in the sector could be doctors and nurses, but they could just as easily be porters, finance managers, gardeners, chefs, IT technicians or biomedical scientists, as well physiotherapists, psychologists or pharmacists.

Funded by Health Education England North East, it is hoped that the mini scrubs will support schools in the four council areas with their delivery of careers learning.

Ruth Auton, head of education, learning & organisational development at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Education and widening participation are so important to us, forming part our trust-wide Community Promise, which is why we were delighted to be chosen to lead this project on behalf of health and social colleagues across the North of Tyne and Gateshead.

“The health and social care sector is so important to the North East not just in terms of the support it provides to our communities, but as an employer, so we’re really keen to showcase all of the opportunities that are available to our young people.”

Sarah Kilner, workforce lead with the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), added: “This is all part of us developing an ongoing relationship with our workforce of the next generation.

“We want to be here for our potential employees throughout their education through schemes like this for primary school children and then work experience, careers events and other activities to engage older students, as part of building that health and care family for the future.”

Schools will be receiving their mini scrubs, together with key information about the different job roles showcased, after the summer holidays, but pupils at Northburn Primary School in Cramlington carried out a trial this week.

STEM and science lead, Jill Nicholson, said: “I really like the idea of if you can see it, you can be it as that chimes with what we try to do with our students.

“Even at primary level opening their eyes to career opportunities that are available to them is a key part of the curriculum and we want to ensure that no child feels there are limitations to what the can do with their life.

“The class had a fantastic time using the scrubs and learning about health and care careers, with many of them discovering roles they didn’t know exist and wanting to learn more about how they can be part of the health and care sector when they’re older.”

Kehli Ellis, chief executive of North Tyneside Learning Trust, said: “We were excited to hear about this initiative and we’re looking forward to receiving our pack at the start of the next academic year and building our relationships with health and social care partners in the region.”

The scrubs are high-quality, hard-wearing replicas of those used by health and care staff, as they are produced in the Northumbria Healthcare Manufacturing and Innovation Hub.

The Seaton Delaval-based facility is on a trajectory to become the country-wide lead supplier of PPE for the health and social care sector following its creation through necessity at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As well as seeking to ‘grow its own’ workforce, the region’s health and care partners work in collaboration to promote medical and dental training and jobs in the North East and North Cumbria through the Find Your Place initiative – https://www.nhsfindyourplace.co.uk/

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