Helping young people into healthcare careers

nursing students

The University of South Wales (USW) and Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) have partnered to support a scheme that enables young learners, in South Wales, to access experience of working in healthcare settings.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Prince of Wales Cadet Scheme is an established programme that gives young people an introduction to careers in nursing and healthcare roles.

The Cadet Scheme started with a pilot in 2019, before it was expanded across Wales, then later across England and Scotland and is launching this year in Northern Ireland.

The scheme runs in partnership with education providers and youth organisations alongside their usual timetable of activity, combining guided online and experiential learning. This includes learning modules and a clinical observational placement within their local healthcare region.

Once they have completed this, cadets submit a portfolio of reflection and gain a completion certificate. They are then supported to take decisions on next steps, which can include a level 2 or 3 related diploma, a foundation degree, or an undergraduate nursing degree.

RCN Nursing Cadet logo

The USW and HEIW funding will pay for one cohort in Coleg Gwent, The College Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend College, Cardiff and Vale College, and Coleg y Cymoedd.

Fleur Jenkins, RCN Cadet, has secured a place to study BSc (Hons) Midwifery at USW, she said: “The Cadet Scheme gave me the opportunity to upskill my pre-existing knowledge from my college course. The training I attended for basic life support has given me the confidence to feel prepared in a rapid response situation. It has helped me to continue on my journey to become a qualified Midwife’.

Professor Dave Clarke, Head of the RCN Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme, said: “We are incredibly proud of the success of the scheme. In fact, we have a milestone this year with our first graduate who began his healthcare career with us.

“It’s really exciting to work with further education colleges, helping students to solidify their career decisions and to make good choices for their futures, whether that is continuing in further education, or completing a UCAS application, helping them to stand out when they apply for higher education.

“We get them thinking about career and leadership opportunities and encourage them to look at the 350 careers that are available in the NHS, clinical and non-clinical.”

Angie Oliver, Deputy Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, said: “HEIW is pleased to continue support for this excellent programme which helps young people to develop their skills and knowledge and prepare for a potential future career in health and care.”

Dr Ian Mathieson, Associate Dean, Partnerships and Business Development (Health and Social Care), said: “‘We are delighted to be supporting the Cadet scheme. It is an excellent initiative, which provides participants with an inside view of healthcare, and offers a different perspective that gives them confidence in taking the next step into higher education.”