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Choosing your career - pivotal moments and influencers - #WeAHPs
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The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has reported a 27% drop in applicants to healthcare programmes in the period 2014-18 placing some AHP programmes at risk. Many courses in the UK are uncertain they will be able to recruit to their cohort numbers and in some cases, even to recruit a viable cohort. The Office for Students (OfS) recognises Therapeutic Radiography, Prosthetics and Orthotics, Orthoptists and Podiatry as the AHP small & vital professions (HEE AHP At the forefront of improving care - a year in review 2017/2018).
This comes at a time when the need for the skills of AHPs and the understanding of their added value and potential is increasing. The NHS Long Term Plan recognises the need to fully utilise the potential AHPs have to offer the NHS and social care. For this to happen we need to continue to attract and retain people to our 14 AHP professions.
A key challenge for NHS employers is to maintain staffing levels in the face of increased numbers of staff reaching retiring age, a finite pool of school and college leavers and increased choice and competition for young people from other sectors. Work experience is an important, affordable investment in the quality of the future workforce. It gives participants an appreciation of the skills and abilities needed for the work environment. It gives them an under standing of the choices available to them. Work experience is a useful recruiting tool and an investment in the quality and work-preparedness of the future workforce.
The Health Education England rePAIR (Reducing Pre-registration Attrition and Improving Retention) project recommendation 12 states that, ‘Preceptorship should be viewed as a recruitment and retention tool. Many students select their first post based on the healthcare provider’s preceptorship model’.
We are keen to find out from current students and registered AHPs what attracted them to their chosen AHP profession, was there a pivotal moment, particular experience or influencer that helped in the decision making process and understand what support was important to you starting out in practice?