Nhs Ambassadors

Become an NHS Ambassador

By Gemma Raw

Are you good at engaging with young people? Whether you're a doctor, a nurse or an allied health professional, as an NHS Ambassador you can help inspire the next generation to pursue a career in health and care. Facilitated through the Inspiring the Future service, which matches schools and colleges with appropriate volunteers from a range of sectors and professions, NHS Ambassadors is a collaboration between Health Education England (HEE) and independent charity Education and Employers. Since the campaign was launched in 2018, NHS Ambassadors have interacted with over 400,000 young people across the country.

Our ageing population is putting increasing demands on healthcare resources and staff vacancies are an ongoing challenge across the NHS. Therefore, inspiring young people to think about working in nursing jobs and other healthcare roles has never been more important. NHS Ambassadors connects them with experienced professionals who can share their passion and experience, as well as answering questions about their roles.

Being an NHS Ambassador is also good for your own continuing professional development, giving you opportunities to improve your communication skills and reflect on your professional practice. In a survey of its NHS and other volunteers in 2020, Education and Employers found that even those volunteering for just two days or less a year said they are more efficient or productive at work as a result of their volunteering. And this figure increases to over 60% for those who volunteer for 15 days or more per year.

How it works

Being an NHS Ambassador doesn't mean having to make a major time commitment. You just need to be able to offer at least an hour per year. The first step is to discuss volunteering with your line manager. Then, having registered online, you can respond to invitations or browse opportunities available. Once you've accepted an invitation, you connect with the teachers to plan a specific type of activity, for example a classroom talk or an interactive workshop. You'll also have access to support materials and handy tips for engaging productively with young people in educational settings.

Who can volunteer?

The NHS Ambassadors scheme is open to all kinds of health professionals, irrespective of their grade, profession or experience, and whether they work in a local, regional or national role. NHS Ambassadors have many different job titles, from doctors and nurses to physiotherapists, occupational therapists and radiographers.

Positive feedback

The feedback on the NHS Ambassadors scheme speaks for itself. A review, published by HEE and Education and Employers in June 2021, includes some positive comments from young people about their experiences:

"I learnt about different jobs and I also found out that not all of the people that work in hospitals are doctors or nurses, " said one 11-year-old girl.

A Year 11 student also found that she was introduced to a new potential career choice. "I learnt a lot about the opportunities within the NHS," she explained. "It was surprising to find out that there are more than 350 job roles, and whilst I am not specifically looking to join the NHS it could still be an option in the future."

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