Twenty London teenagers complete innovative education programme to support their path towards a healthcare career

The first cohort of secondary school students from London have completed a workshop series at Charing Cross Hospital, designed by Imperial College London, to encourage 16-17 year olds to pursue healthcare careers such as becoming a doctor, nurse, midwife, physiotherapist, pharmacist or public health researcher.

The twenty 16-17 year olds, who aspire to be the first in their families to go to university, were part of the widen access to careers in community healthcare (WATCCH) at Charing Cross Hospital.

Part of the programme involved the students getting three days’ worth of work experience in a healthcare setting, supported by a clinician, and given the opportunity to observe patient consultations, monitoring tests such as ECGs and vaccinations. To conclude the programme, students presented their reflections on the experience to other participants and hospital doctors.

Rajpreet Sran, from Southall, was part of the first cohort. “I spent my placement in a GP Surgery close to my home in Isleworth. It was an invaluable experience because I got to see first-hand what I could expect from a career in medicine. We talked a lot about the impact of diabetes, as the GP Surgery sees a lot of patients with the condition, and I was really struck by this so this was the focus of my reflections at the final workshop.

“I learned a lot about how to communicate with patients, how to work professionally, and how to respect confidentiality, and all of this experience has made me feel more determined than ever to pursue a career in pharmacy.”