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Hear the Facts! Not the Myths!

A job in health and care is rewarding, really matters and can provide a life-long career. We have seen over the last year how important health and care workers are and how much people in the community value what they do.

Ever wondered if working in health and care could be for you? Let’s try to answer some of the questions and dispel some of the myths about working in the health & care sector.

Myth #1: There are no opportunities for career progression in health and care

There are lots of opportunities to progress in a career in health and care. The NHS has The Career Framework which has been designed to improve career development and job satisfaction for NHS employees.

It encourages individuals to learn new skills and take on extra responsibilities that enable them to progress within the organisation. Many people take on additional responsibility within their own area, while others retrain and move into different roles.

The NHS also runs a Graduate Management Programme.

You can learn and gain qualifications as you are working, up to a master’s degree, meaning you can quickly progress into roles with more responsibility and work towards a specialism of your interest, such as Occupational Health.

Health Education England has developed an e-learning programme for healthcare professionals, to help them make informed career choices and effective applications for their next career steps.

Myth #2: Health and care jobs are poorly paid

All employers must pay the minimum wage, but some health and care employers pay more, to show they value their staff. There are lots of opportunities to progress in your career, which means moving into roles that pay more.

The NHS offers a fair and transparent pay structure with competitive and flexible benefits and has one of the most generous pension schemes on offer. As an NHS employee, you will have unique access to a health service discounts scheme.

An entry level, band one role such as a Domestic Support Worker, can start on £18,005 in their first year. A band three role such as an Occupational Therapy Worker, can start on £19,737 per year. A band five role such as a newly qualified Practitioner can earn up to £30,615. For information on the NHS pay scales please visit www.nhsemployers.org/pay-pensions-and-reward/agenda-for-change/pay-scales

Myth #3 – Jobs in health and care are only about personal care and working with old people.

Care roles are all about supporting people to live independently in a way that they choose, and personal care is just one of the ways you could do this. There are over 350 jobs in health and care and not all involve personal care, like a Counsellor, Technician and Activity Coordinator. Find more roles to suit you here: www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles

Myth #4 – Careers in health: it is just doctors, nurses and paramedics, isn’t it?

No – there are a whole host of roles including non-clinical jobs such as Librarians, Chefs, Accountants, Porters, Cleaners and States staff, IT, Communications and Administration. There are many other health careers – like Healthcare Scientists, Podiatrists and Orthoptists.

There is also an increase in the demand for Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners. Public health is a key area too – helping people to stay healthy and protecting them from threats to their health. Roles here includes Health Trainers, Environmental Health Professionals and Public Health Consultants.

Nurses work in a range of community settings (including schools, prisons and private homes) as well as hospitals.

Specialist Paramedics are Paramedics with additional training in assessing patients, administering tests, interpreting results, and prescribing medication. When attending an emergency, they can make clinical decisions about whether a patient can return home or needs to get to an emergency department.

Myth #5 – Work within the health and care industry is unfulfilling.

Working in health and social care can be challenging but it is a role that matters and changes people’s lives for the better. It can be both remarkable and rewarding.

Those who have had successful careers in this industry are motivated by helping people.

Take the quick 5-minute quiz to find a job in health and care that suits you: www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/FindYourCareer

Myth #6 – I’m a parent and I can’t do shift work.

Not all jobs in health and care involve shift work, although it could have many benefits for the employee. It allows employees to condense their working time to improve work-life balance and to manage carer responsibilities. But for people who cannot work shifts there are jobs available which are flexible and can be worked part-time. Day surgeries, outpatients or district nursing would all be places that do not generally involve night shifts.

The NHS is making a commitment to making the future of flexible working, work for NHS staff.

Myth #7 I thought you would need a degree to work in the NHS.

Despite around 50% of the NHS workforce having a university or other professional qualification, there are lots of opportunities for staff without these qualifications, especially in the essential wider healthcare team. There are lots of pathways into an NHS career, for example a clinical or non-clinical apprenticeship, from GCSE to master’s level.

Myth #8 – You must be young to start a career in health and care or to be an Apprentice.

No, you can be an Apprentice and join the health and care sector at any age.

Dr. Phillip Brown qualified to be a GP in Essex at the age of 38. “I started working life working for my dad’s building firm. Then had a 13-year career in local government Environmental Health. I decided to go to med school at the age of 33 with two young children and a mortgage, qualifying at 38. It’s never too late to choose something different. I continue to learn and develop every day”.

Apprenticeships provide routes into a variety of careers in the NHS and are an excellent opportunity to earn, gain work experience and achieve nationally recognised qualifications at the same time. Find more information here: www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/career-planning/study-and-training/apprenticeships

Want to know more? There is free support out there for people interested in working in health and care.

The Suffolk and North East Essex Health & Care Academy is a fully funded programme to support those interested in finding out more about working in the health and care sectors.

Aged 14-18 and live in Suffolk and North East Essex? Then please email ambassadors@caredevelopmenteast.co.uk to find out more about the Academy programme sessions.

Aged 16+ and live in Tendring? Please visit www.aclessex.com/youcan. You Can is a free, online programme to support those who would like to know more about working in health and care. It consists of 6 short sessions over 3 weeks. Each session is no more than 2 hours. It ends with a personalised one to one session with a Careers Guidance Officer who will support you in your next steps: whether that be further education, work experience, volunteering or straight into work. You will also have the option of a free mentor for at least 6 months.

Health & Care: Work that matters.