As part of the Work Discovery Sunderland programme, the city hosts a range of sector days, giving young people the opportunity to meet face to face with professionals from a particular industry and find out about the full range of job prospects.
And kicking off the new programme is an NHS sector day, where more than 300 young people from schools across Sunderland will be able to meet and talk to a range of practitioners and follow two patient journeys.
The event – taking place at the Stadium of Light – is being repeated following the positive reaction to a similar day last year and this time round will include representatives from maternity services, who will showcase their jobs and introduce the young people to the equipment they use.
The sector days are part of a wider programme which was put in place after the success of Work Discovery Week, an annual event where the region’s top businesses take part in a range of activities with city young people to help increase their employability.
During next week’s event the pupils will also walk through two patient “journeys” and see the various ways the health service supports them.
This includes discovering more about “Edith”, an 85-year-old with a series of health issues including diabetes and respiratory problems and who has developed memory lapses.
At the same time they will also follow “Danny” 16, who breaks his leg while playing in a football match and is taken to hospital by ambulance.
The scenarios will be given to the young people who will be able to talk to around 40 different professionals who would normally be involved in these kinds of cases, covering everything from medical care, nursing, theatre staff, pharmacy and all the support services.
The event is being created for Work Discovery by City Hospitals Sunderland NHS partnering with North East Ambulance Service and Sunderland City Council.
“This is a great opportunity for students in the city to see the diversity and range of jobs that are available in the NHS,” said Dennis Little, Workforce Development Manager for City Hospitals Sunderland.
“It is not just about the obvious jobs that spring to mind such as the medical experts, there are a huge number of other career paths available and we hope this event will highlight them to the young people taking part.”
Paul McEldon co-chair of the Sunderland’s Economic Leadership Board Business Schools Task Group which set up Work Discovery Sunderland, said the sector days were proving extremely valuable to young people.
“These sector days give young people in Sunderland a real opportunity to get invaluable insight into the range of jobs available in a particular area,” he said.
“There are so many careers opportunities in the NHS, many of which might the pupils attending might not have realised existed
“I’m sure it will be fantastic event and the young people will come away with a vast amount of information and knowledge.”
A number of other sector days are planned throughout the year including hospitality, software, creative industries, retail and advanced manufacturing and engineering – all lead by the city’s top companies and organisations.
Work Discovery Week was launched in 2013 out of the desire that businesses wanted to forge stronger relationships with the workforce of the future.
More than 1000 school pupils have now been involved each year, taking part in activities ranging from a careers fair, business challenges, visits to companies, workshops and hands-on activities.
Many of the region’s biggest employers –including SAFC, Nissan, Gentoo, Sunderland University, Sunderland College and Arriva- support the event and its success has paved the way for a whole host of other activities including the sector days and guest speaker days.
Work Discovery Week is already planned for 2016 and will run from June 27 to July 1.