Celebrating our new ‘operating theatre’ careers hub at HSDC Alton

NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight’s 350+ Careers Programme has teamed up with HSDC Alton to create a permanent ‘operating theatre environment’ at the college, giving students year-round learning opportunities to explore all the roles needed to facilitate a successful operation. The opening of this dedicated careers hub on 14 October coincided with Allied Health Professionals Day, during which hundreds of local school students visited the hub to meet NHS colleagues representing all 14 Allied Health careers, including paramedics, physiotherapists, radiographers and speech and language therapists. It was also national T Levels Week. Students learnt more about these new technical and vocational qualifications as well as T Level placements within the NHS.

As the UK’s biggest employer, the NHS offers more than 350 different career paths and the purpose of the 350+ NHS Careers Programme is to help children and young people explore the huge range of options open to them. The programme’s outreach team runs free sessions in schools and education settings, also providing expertise around T Level and apprenticeship routes into the NHS. Ove the past year, the 350+ NHS Careers Programme has interacted with more than 10,000 young people at schools and careers fairs across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Kat Millmore-Davies, Education Outreach Lead for the 350+ NHS Careers Programme, says: “We are here at HSDC Alton today with our Allied Health team to give students an in-depth introduction to 14 of the amazing careers they can have in the NHS. As the students move through the operating theatre, they explore roles and tasks based on real-life scenarios, ultimately learning what a vital contribution these roles make to the patient experience. Thank you to Assistant Principal Vocational Curriculum Ashley Grute and the team at HSDC Alton for hosting our first permanent hub for the programme – we know the operating theatre is going to spark a lot of imagination and help inspire the next generation about the career options open to them.”

Ashley Grute, Assistant Principal Vocational Curriculum at HSDC, said: “We are so proud to be part of this project to promote NHS careers and encourage young people to consider a wide variety of career routes. It’s been fantastic to see our visitors use the operating theatre’s facilities today, and we are looking forward to our T Level students having the opportunity to utilise the equipment to enhance their learning on our variety of Health courses. Throughout our Vocational and Technical curriculum, we work hard to make sure our students are prepared for their future careers and have the industry skills they need to succeed. This operating theatre is the latest in a series of investments to equip our students with the high-quality facilities they need.”

The 14 Allied Health Professions are art therapist, drama therapist, music therapist, chiropodist/podiatrist, dietician, music therapist, occupational therapist, operating department practitioner, orthoptist, osteopath, paramedic, physiotherapist, prosthetist/orthotist, radiographer, speech and language therapist.  

The 350+ NHS Careers Programme has been part-funded by a grant from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, event funding from the M3 Local Enterprise Partnership and our operating theatre donated by The University of Portsmouth.

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