School students called on to be NHS ‘workforce of the future’ as health service director goes back to the classroom

To mark the NHS’s 70th birthday year, Yvonne Coghill, Director of the Workforce Race Equality Standard at NHS England, will today (20 September) visit a London college to help promote careers in the NHS.

Yvonne will attend St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College in London and give an assembly to over 200 students studying health and social care, psychology, sociology, science and criminology.

Pupils will have the chance to find out more about potential future career opportunities across the NHS, take part in a question and answer session and discover more about Yvonne’s own career highlights and journey.

Whilst a number of career paths are open to students who may decide to train to become NHS doctors, nurses, midwives, healthcare or forensic scientists, young people are also being encouraged to take up science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

Earlier this year NHS England and NHS Improvement joined forces with the charity Speakers for Schools. The collaboration is giving school pupils access to insights and advice from individuals who are at the top of the health profession, helping broaden students’ horizons in what they can achieve.

The campaign is part of plans to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday with well-known media medics and other high-profile speakers volunteering their time to visit secondary schools and colleges in England this summer to help recruit the workforce of the future.

Yvonne Coghill, Director – Workforce Race Equality Standard, said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to participate in the Speakers for Schools programme as part of celebrations to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS.

“Today has been a great opportunity for me to speak to young students who aspire to be the nursing, health and social care workforce of the future. I hope my experience and the journey of my career can help others to see how rewarding it can be to work in our NHS.”

Elaine Taylor, Principal at St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College, said: “We are really looking forward to Yvonne Coghill’s visit to St Charles and her presentation on the NHS. Many of our students progress onto university and study health-related degrees, or go into employment in the NHS and this is an excellent opportunity for them to have an insight into the options available to them.”

In July the NHS launched a multi-million pound TV advertising campaign to recruit thousands of nurses in landmark 70th year. The £8 million campaign, funded by NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care, will highlight the vast range of opportunities available in the NHS for potential new recruits and will initially put the spotlight on the nursing, prioritising key areas including mental health, learning disability and community and general practice nurses and will help deliver the long term plan for the NHS.

The campaign aims to increase the total number of applications into the NHS by 22,000 as well as double the numbers of nurses returning to practice and improve retention of staff in all sectors. It will recognise the incredible contribution and impact of NHS staff who treat over one million patients every 24 hours across the country in GP surgeries, hospitals and at home, as part of the biggest recruitment drive in NHS history.

As well as the national recruitment campaign, NHS England is leading work with over 800 nursing and midwifery ambassadors who are helping to change the perceptions of these professions to help parents, teachers and young people see nursing and midwifery as a career of choice.

Yvonne has worked in the NHS since 1977 when she started nursing training at Central Middlesex Hospital.  She qualified as a general nurse in 1980 and then went on to qualify in mental health nursing and health visiting. In 1986 she secured her first NHS management job and has since held a number of operational and strategic leadership posts.

The NHS is the country’s largest employer offering more than 350 types of profession, many requiring science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) qualifications. However, only one in four secondary school students chooses two STEM A-Levels, and only one in 11 chooses maths and physics.

Yvonne Coghill at St Charles Sixth Form College