Allied Health Professionals (AHP) from across Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System (ICS) recently came together at an event organised by the ICS AHP council and faculty to reflect on the achievements over the last year and focus on supporting and sustaining the AHP workforce – now and in the future.

Colleagues from across health, social care, voluntary sector, higher educational institutions and professional bodies gathered at the Saffron Centre in Highgate for an education summit, looking at how they can work better together to attract and retain people into AHP professions and support the existing workforce with skills development and education opportunities.

The summit was followed by a careers fair which was organised to reach out into the diverse communities and local schools. The event, which was attended by around 200 people, showcased the variety of AHP roles, gave people the opportunity to talk to AHPs about their roles and allowed people to explore the various education pathways with representatives from local colleges and universities.

One attendee, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I didn’t have the opportunity to consider my career when I was younger due to my personal circumstances, but now I can. I like the sound of the support worker role as it will allow me to work with lots of different healthcare professionals so I can see what kind of role I would like to pursue long term.”

17-year-old Amina Khan from Solihull is currently studying for her A-Level at Alderbrook School in Solihull. She said: “I am interested in a career in healthcare but don’t want to go down the route of studying medicine. I was really surprised to see just how many options there are within AHP careers and I am particularly interested in radiography, which I knew nothing about before.”

Fatima said is 22 and is currently studying for a degree in psychology at Coventry University. She said: “I’ve enjoyed my degree course but want to take a more practical pathway after I finish. I am interested in doing an apprenticeship and this event has helped me think about next steps.”

Seema Gudivada, chair of the Birmingham and Solihull ICS AHP council and faculty, said: “I was delighted to see so many people from diverse backgrounds attend the careers event. The passion and commitment from our AHP and education colleagues to work together to reach out into the communities and promote AHP careers is striking. More of such events are needed to ensure that our workforce across the system represents and understands the needs of the citizens it serves.

“It was a great opportunity to understand the barriers and challenges young people face and have a platform to discuss the possible routes into AHP careers with higher education institutions and support work options with organisations, all under one roof.”  

The events are part of an ongoing programme of work to raise the profile of AHP careers. The next event is planned for 5 Oct, reaching directly into the local schools and colleges. Srihari Tippa, BSol AHP council and faculty development project lead, said:

“AHPs account for a third of the NHS workforce and yet there are still so many people within and outside the NHS that don’t know about the many and varied roles that you can pursue as an AHP – this needs to change if we’re going to have a workforce that is fit for the future.

“This is the first time we have held a system-wide event and will hopefully be the stepping stone to more joint working.  

“The feedback received from the roundtable discussions will greatly assist us in making further progress on our Health Education England work streams and more ideas for further collaborative working.”

More information about AHP careers can be found here: NHS England » Allied Health Professions

A short film has been produced featuring interviews with attendees, watch it here: