Can you believe it’s September? August has passed us by in the blink of an eye. So here we are, approaching the end of summer 2021 and what a way to finish the season with the celebration of our first NHS Cadet Programme.
The NHS Cadet Programme, which began in October 2020, is a 12-month course designed to engage with young people who would not normally get the opportunity to work or volunteer within the NHS.
In Wirral the programme is delivered as a joint initiative between Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, The Hive Youth Zone and St John Ambulance.
We are the first Community Trust in the country to be involved in this innovative pilot programme which provides 14 to 16-year-olds with courses to develop their leadership skills, and in normal circumstances, first aid training and volunteering opportunities in the NHS – including vital hands-on work experience in NHS settings.
Although the pandemic meant that the programme had to be delivered differently this did not stop the team at The Hive providing an interactive and engaging experience for young people.
On Saturday I was privileged to attend a well-planned and safe event at The Hive to celebrate the achievements of our young people and award them with their certificates for completing Wirral’s first NHS Cadets Programme, and what an honour it truly was.
The pandemic and lockdown have affected us all in many ways, but the younger generation have felt an enormous impact over the last 18 months and to say I am proud of what our young NHS Cadets have achieved is an understatement.
It has been a great pleasure for me following their journey.
They have embraced virtual ways of working, with the dedicated and passionate team at The Hive continuing the programme throughout lockdown to ensure that young residents across Wirral could access this exciting programme remotely during lockdown. The determination, commitment, and resilience of our NHS Cadets throughout the programme has shone through week after week.
They have been such a privilege to work with and are an absolute credit to ourselves, their family, and friends.
Throughout their journey, our Cadets have excelled in so many ways – they have engaged in sessions on transferable skills such as communication and teamwork and participated in workshops on mental wellbeing and infection prevention and control – paramount lessons in the challenging times we have found ourselves in recently.
Experiencing new opportunities to grow and develop is what being an NHS Cadet is all about.
Of course, what makes the NHS so remarkable is its people, and as part of that family, the cadets have been given experiences to shape their future.
They have also developed new friendships and set up a social media group, which has given them a sense of belonging and community.
Rach Markey, NHS Cadets Project Co-ordinator and Youth Worker said: “The positive impact that the NHS Cadets programme has had on our young people is second to none.
“Not only has it given them an insight into a future career in healthcare, but they have made lasting friendships and it has been a pleasure to see them learning new skills and growing in confidence.
“Out of the 75 that initially started we have 59 young people graduating over the summer, which I am incredibly proud of as this has been a particularly challenging time for young people.”
To work alongside our partners at The Hive and St John Ambulance to deliver this programme is something that I and all my colleagues here at the Trust are truly proud of.
We are looking forward to the supporting our next group of young people who embark on the second NHS Cadet Programme this month.
There are still places available, so if you know a young person, aged 14 -16, who would like to get involved in this aspiration raising programme please email email@example.com
As we move into a new month, I want to also tell you about the launch of our ‘e-consent – it’s that easy’ campaign.
E-consent is a new way for parents and carers to consent to their child’s school-aged immunisations.
The new electronic consent (e-consent) process is easy, secure, and convenient.
It enables parents and carers of pupils in both primary and secondary schools to give consent for their child’s school aged vaccinations, using our e-consent form instead of the paper form which is usually sent home from school.
As the new school terms starts schools will be informing parents and carers about the new ‘e-consent process’ and you’ll start to see and hear more about our campaign.
In the meantime, you can find out more about e-consent by visiting www.wchc.nhs.uk/econsent