HC Deb 08 January 2001 vol 360 cc407-8W
Dr. Marek

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps he has taken to promote nursing as a career among school children in England. [144571]

Mr. Wicks

The Careers and Occupational Information Centre (COIC), a unit within my Department, publishes information about a broad range of career opportunities including nursing. For example, "Jobfile" is a booklet containing information on nursing as a career and is made available to secondary schools for issue to pupils in years 9–11. A booklet for young people "Working in Nursing" contains case studies of 15 people in nursing and related jobs.

Qualified advisers working in careers services regularly visit schools to provide information, advice and guidance to pupils on all career issues including nursing as appropriate. This work will continue through the Connexions service from April 2001.

Each year, my Department liaises with the Department of Health to promote "Nurses Day" and "Midwives Day" in schools. Each of these days gives schoolchildren the opportunity to find out more about the two professions.

With DfEE support, the Department of Health launched a schools competition "Make Some Noise" in June 2000, as part of a wider three-year recruitment and retention strategy to promote career opportunities within the NHS. The competition aims to raise awareness among 11 to 19-year-olds of the diversity of careers, including nursing, in the NHS. A similar schools competition in 1998–99 was very successful, with the majority of schools requesting an information pack and estimated 30,000 schoolchildren learning more about work in the NHS. Over 80 per cent. of teachers reported that students were now "quite or very interested" in a career in the NHS.

NHS careers is a new interactive service and telephone helpline providing information and advice on all NHS careers to people of all ages including children considering careers in nursing.

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