In 2018, nearly 2 million people worked across the healthcare sector in the UK; this includes both public sector and private sector health workers. There is an abundance of roles within healthcare, which stretch far beyond the medical profession. Whatever your skillset or degree background, there will be a graduate role in healthcare for you.
The largest healthcare employer in the UK is the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS is the UK’s public healthcare system which ensures that everybody has access to free healthcare. The NHS is funded by the taxpayer and the government and is England’s largest employer, employing over 1.5 million people.
Graduate healthcare careers in the NHS
According to their website, there are over 350 different careers within the NHS, to suit a variety of experience levels, from those who already work in health, to those still in education. They have split up their organisation into 15 different career sectors, these are:
- Allied health professionals
- Ambulance service team
- Dental team
- Health informatics
- Healthcare science
- Healthcare support worker
- Medical associate professions
- Psychological professions
- Public health
- Wider healthcare team
Students and graduates can come to many of these professions without having studied for a medical degree at university. For example, those interested in public health could become an Environmental Health Professional and oversee areas such as food hygiene, noise pollution and housing standards. Or suppose you want to work in management. In that case, you may be interested in becoming a Finance Manager, an essential role in the NHS, which ensures front-line medical staff have all of the resources they need to deliver treatment.
An excellent way for graduates to find a career in healthcare within the NHS is through their graduate programmes. The NHS offers a series of graduate fast-track programmes across the entire organisation which enable you to train on the job.
NHS Graduate Digital, Data and Technology Scheme:
This scheme is for Information Management and Technology graduates who want to use technology and intelligent information to improve the care of patients. This is a two-year scheme.
NHS Graduate Management Training scheme:
This programme prepares graduates to become senior managers and strategists within the broader NHS organisation.
NHS Scientist Training Programme:
This scheme is for science and engineering students who want to specialise in a scientific area such as clinical bioinformatics, or biomedical engineering.
Graduate healthcare careers outside of the NHS
There are also many opportunities for careers in healthcare outside of the NHS, mainly within the private healthcare sector. Organisations such as Bupa UK offer private healthcare across the UK; they provide many services such as tests, GP appointments, surgery, mental health support and DNA testing. Much like the NHS, there are a wide variety of careers within private healthcare organisations like Bupa UK, from medical to non-medical, such as nurses, doctors, IT staff, and finance roles.
Bupa UK offers a series of early careers programmes including graduate programmes and apprenticeships.
Another career path for graduates to consider is the care profession, which predominantly lies in care homes across the UK. A care home, or nursing home, is a residential facility for the elderly and/or disabled where they are cared for by a team of professionals. Care home staff are on the front line of the care profession as they support the medical, emotional, educational and personal needs of their residents on a day to day basis.
For more information, visit our graduate career paths hub, and find our dedicated page for healthcare.