Free courses for young people give insight into health and care jobs

Two women standing behind a table and two chairs. The table has a yellow tablecloth and leaflets on.

Hannah McLaughlin and Kerrey Goosetree of the Next Generation Project at a careers event - Credit: Kerrey Goosetree

Young people aged 14 to 18 who are living in or educated in Suffolk or North East Essex are being invited to take part in a free virtual course to find out about careers in mental health and learning disabilities. 

This is the first time the Suffolk and North East Essex Health and Care Academy has run a topic-focused health and care event. 

The free, three-day virtual academy course, which is running in partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, will take place from August 2 to 4 between 10.00am and 12.30pm. 

During the course, students of all backgrounds and abilities can find out about career opportunities, entry routes and career pathways to different jobs, which don’t all involve going to university. 

Ambassadors doing a variety of health and social care jobs will be speaking at the event and will also be taking questions. 

Kerrey Goosetree, health and care ambassador coordinator at the Next Generation Project, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for students to ask questions to the ambassadors first-hand.” 

Students will also be able to find out what sort of skills are needed to work in those areas, find out what the application process is and the sorts of things to include in your personal statement on your CV. 

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Kerrey said: “The young people taking part will have the opportunity to ask questions to people who read personal statements.” 

Frontline workers taking part in the event include those working as an occupational therapist, art psychotherapist, mental health nurse, speech and language therapist and a mental health pharmacist. 

One student who took part in a previous academy course said that speaking to a real-life paramedic was like meeting a “rock star”. 

But the ambassadors talk about the less glamorous sides of their jobs too, discussing the challenges as well as the rewards, with the aim that students can be as ready for that journey as they can be. 

A woman with long blond hair, wearing a black and white top and a lanyard.

Sue Bridges, who is taking part in the August 2 to 4 virtual course - Credit: Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

The ambassadors, who have volunteered to take part in the event in their own time, will also talk about what support you get when you do come across those challenges. 

Sometimes the subject matter may be emotional, such as end of life care. 

“If there are sensitive moments, we support the young people when those conversations come up,” said Kerrey. 

And the support doesn’t stop there. Following the course, Kerrey and her team at the Suffolk and North East Essex Health and Care Academy will continue to mentor the students through their journey. 

Kerrey explained: “Everybody who goes on one of our courses becomes our alumni.” 

If a student wanted to ask further questions to the ambassadors, Kerrey and her team can pass those on, and even facilitate one-to-ones. 

“Hopefully we can get back into the clinical settings so students can do some shadowing,” said Kerrey. She is hoping that shadowing opportunities will open up this autumn or early next year. 

Overall, the academy offers a “fantastic opportunity for young people to get an insight into health and social care jobs”, said Kerrey. 

Later this summer, Suffolk and North East Essex Health and Care Academy is holding a virtual Summer Health and Care Academy. 

The free course, which is also for 14 to 18 year olds in Suffolk and North East Essex, will be held from August 16 to 20 between 10am and 12.30pm. 

This course, which will cover all sorts of different roles in health and care, will include details on NHS values and advice on applications and interview skills. 

There will be details on healthcare assistants, entry routes into social care, nursing and the ambulance service. 

“What is unique is that we will be joined by two organisations – Street Doctor and Medic Mentor,” said Kerrey. 

Street Doctor will be giving advice on offering first aid to anyone suffering from injuries following an altercation. 

Medic Mentor will talk about their virtual work experience, with the chance to join their free session on August 28, where they follow a patient’s healthcare journey using an actor but with real staff and true-to-life scenarios. 

Kerrey and her team will again be on hand to offer support to students after the event. 

Any young people taking part in the academies will also receive a free pack, including a notepad and pen, a folder, booklets including the NHS values booklet, and a water bottle. 

Sign up to either event online or by email 

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