Work Experience/ Shadowing and Volunteering
Work experience or shadowing is often requested by universities for health-related courses and can also be used to support job applications. It demonstrates a commitment to the occupation and enables you to understand the role to which you may be applying. At interview you may be asked what you learnt or gained from the work experience. Work experience may be hospital or community based, and many hospitals and community organisations offer work shadowing opportunities to their local residents. It is not always possible to gain a placement in the setting you are interested in, however any experience gained is valuable.
Within Surrey demand for placements outstrips supply, however, there are a variety of options available to you. The learning and skills gained from any settings can be applied to health-related roles and is therefore valuable. For example, if you wish to apply to medical school or train to become a midwife the communication skills you develop while talking to residents at a care home can be applied to these roles and be used to demonstrate the NHS Values that universities often assess against.
Below is a list of ideas for you to consider.
Work shadowing at a local hospital - work shadowing varies in length from half a day to a week depending on the area. Details of the opportunities available and when to apply can be found on each organisation’s website. Acute hospitals only offer placements to their local residents. Please note, all placements are observation only and students are required to be over 16.
Volunteering at your local hospital - all NHS trusts offer volunteering opportunities. Generally, volunteers are asked to commit a couple of hours per week for a minimum of 6 months to a year. The types of roles available are varied but could include chatting to patients and supporting with feeding, for example one evening a week. For further details please see your local trusts website and search for ‘volunteering’.
Other NHS services - in Surrey are:
- Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – deliver learning disabilities and mental health services across 39 sites.
- CSH Surrey - provides a wide range of adult community health services in the areas of mid and north west Surrey, and children's NHS community services across the whole of Surrey.
- First Community Health and Care – provides community healthcare services in clinics and in people’s homes across East Surrey.
- Primary Care - GP practices
Social Care - There are a large number of social care settings and employers that offer opportunities. For example, volunteering at a care home supporting people with dementia or a day centre for adults with learning disabilities. To find a service provider close to your home or place of study you can use the Care Quality Commission search. You can specify by town or postcode and refine the results by selecting the type of services they offer such as young adults and mental health services.
Hospices - Local hospices can be found through the CQC web page listed above.
St Johns Ambulance - offer a cadet programme for your people. Further details can be found at:
Voluntary, Community & Charities - there are a wide range of opportunities across Surrey within community groups and charities. From example children's activity groups, befriending, charities that support vulnerable people. The link below enables you to search opportunities in your local area by location, activity, availability etc.
Learn Live Careers Broadcasts - A series of 20 – 30 minute broadcasts covering different careers can be watched on demand. Each broadcast focuses a particular topic and includes a Q&A style interview with a local practitioner. Currently available:
Other Useful Resources
Allied Health Professionals - Virtual reality films showcasing a day in the life of - podiatrists, prosthetics, orthoptists, therapeutic ragiographers. https://hee-vr360.azurewebsites.net/
Find an Apprenticeship website - Lists apprenticeship vacancies available. Searches can be saved, providing candidates with alerts when vacancies meet their criteria are available. https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch
Find your Health Career online tool - The Health Careers ‘Find your health career’ tool is interactive and asks an individual a series of questions and then offers a list of career ideas for consideration. https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/career-planning/career-tools/intro
National School of Healthcare Science - This website outlines healthcare science roles and the career routes. It includes details of forthcoming events and training programmes available as well as useful links and frequently asked questions. http://www.nshcs.hee.nhs.uk/
NHS Jobs - NHS Jobs is a dedicated online recruitment service for the NHS. Every NHS organisation within England and Wales advertises their job opportunities with NHS Jobs. Around 25,000 posts are advertised on this website every month. You can save searches to receive email alerts for particular vacancies. https://www.jobs.nhs.uk/
Social Care: A Rewarding Career - This is an interactive PDF document that explores the many ways you can develop and progress in social care. It shows the different job roles you can do in social care, and the qualifications and training you might need to do to get there. https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Careers-in-care/Develop-your-career/Develop-your-career.aspx
Think Care Careers - This interactive website provides information on working in adult social care. It includes links to the different job roles, how to find a job and how to develop a career. It also has case studies, so you can see how other people started and progressed in their career. https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Careers-in-care/Think-Care-Careers.aspx
This page has been developed by Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership. For further information on support for adults and Surrey Heartlands ICS please select from the links below.