HealthReach's Clinical Outreach Officer providing a demonstration
HealthReach's Clinical Outreach Officer providing a demonstration in the simulation tent

Educating young people about the NHS, its contribution to the public and the variety of available careers is highly important for the future of the NHS.

Health Education England in the Thames Valley, has helped set up two education programmes across BOB ICS which aim to educate young people on the NHS and their potential to become its future workforce as well as incorporating health and well being messaging.


HealthTec is a unique health simulation centre located at the Aylesbury campus of the Buckinghamshire College Group. Young people are given the opportunity to work alongside healthcare professionals whilst learning skills such as first aid, communication and team work in an experiential environment where healthcare settings can be recreated and simulated. Within HealthTec young people are able to learn about the variety of healthcare careers within the NHS and the different avenues there are for entering these careers. The HealthTec staff also incorporate health and well being messaging where possible to ensure maximum impact from the experience young people receive at the facility.

The Aylesbury facility has a teaching area, a mock up bedsit with a bathroom, hospital ward bed, fold away ambulance and a video immersive room. The video immersive room is highly interactive and is designed to engage young people; bringing learning to life. Allowing them to simulate various scenarios in real life environments such as a nightclub, emergency department or sports hall making the teaching more realistic and engaging as the students can relate to the situation.

HealthTec holds different learning days such as ‘be a paramedic’ day or a ‘patient journey day.’ During these days the staff begin with either a dummy patient or one of the children wearing an age simulation suit and a medical emergency situation is acted out. For example a patient may have had a cardiac arrest in the bath, and young people are taught how to manage the situation, how to ensure the patient is taken to hospital, and the journey the patient would take to recovery. The benefits of this teaching are significant. Young people are learning what to do in an emergency situation, receiving health and wellbeing advice and understanding the different healthcare roles which are involved at each stage of care.

HealthTec professionals ensure these important lessons are spread beyond the Aylesbury located facility and travel to primary and secondary schools across Buckinghamshire giving students the opportunity to learn about health care. HealthTec staff also attend careers fairs to talk about the NHS, and its roles. The programme has engaged with almost 7,000 students in 2018/19 which is a significant accomplishment.

The aims of the programme are to raise awareness of the 350 roles within the NHS and the different routes in, many of which the average school child won’t be aware of. . In the long term the programme also aims to increase the amount of young people who consider careers within the NHS.


Berkshire also runs a similar programme, in the form of HealthReach which is based in the University of Reading. HealthReach also has dedicated staff, including a paramedic, who tour schools and colleges to provide information to young people about the NHS.

HealthReach is a mobile facility, and includes a 3D immersive video tent allowing staff to teach students basic life support and other skills in a simulated environment which has noise and distractions rather than a quiet class room. This creates a more realistic environment.

Students who engage with HealthReach experience teaching on skills such as CPR and managing choking, and are taught about the different career paths within the NHS. HealthReach officially launched in June 2019 and has been highly successful in engaging young people to date with engagement growing all the time.

“Programmes such as HealthTec and HealthReach aim to help remove misconceptions about the NHS, including gender stereotypes, teach young people basic skills such as first aid, and help raise awareness of the wide range of careers available in the NHS as well as the range of routes in to those careers. By engaging with young people in this way we hope to inspire our younger generations to become the NHS workforce of the future.” Abigail Changer, Stakeholder engagement and careers lead, Health Education England Thames Valley.


If you would like any further information please email Victoria Connolly on