Pathways Project set to Deliver Healthy
Recruitment in West Yorkshire Districts




schools engaged so far in Kirklees and Calderdale


students have experienced the programme


said they had more awareness of roles in health and care


To successfully devise and deliver a long-term engagement programme, our objectives included:

  • 01. Develop a coherent and cost-efficient approach to careers outreach in the two districts.
  • 02. Build a broad coalition of collaborating partners, to support the work financially and in other ways.
  • 03. Organise and implement the programme so it reaches not just all local secondary schools but each of their students within five years.


The neighbouring West Yorkshire districts of Kirklees and Calderdale centre on the towns of Huddersfield and Halifax respectively. Recruitment into the areas’ health and care sector is hindered by national labour shortages and hampered further by a couple of key local factors.

One is the proximity of other major centres. Huddersfield, for example, is within 14 miles of the cities of Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield, which offer numerous competing job opportunities in a wide range of sectors.

Also, engagement with secondary school students over health and care career or learning opportunities in Kirklees and Calderdale was previously undertaken by multiple trusts, foundations, educational institutions and local authority departments, all working separately. It became clear that a more holistic approach could pay-off, not least because it might save these organisations time and resources, including money.

In 2020, we were therefore appointed by NHS England, which asked us to develop a five-year project, designed to remedy local health and care sector skill and labour deficits, by improving the volume and diversity of young applicants for posts. The programme’s initial focus was Kirklees alone but its early success meant it was soon extended to Calderdale. The initiative is now known as the Kirklees and Calderdale Health and Care Pathways project and is co-funded by sector employers in the two districts.

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We designed an exciting and innovative long-term, whole system, careers engagement strategy, that includes providing students with up-to-date advice. This enables local young people to develop their skills and knowledge, and be ready to apply for courses and jobs relating to health and care, thus strengthening the sector’s talent pipeline. Our work consists of activities, delivered virtually and in-person, that appeal to schools and are easily flexed to be delivered by the Ahead Partnership team or volunteers from our partner organisations.

One notable feature of the programme is it focuses on the many diffuse roles across the health and care sector, not just clinical careers, to demonstrate the breadth and variety of the opportunities available. Our work includes highlighting jobs in facilities management, occupational therapy, marketing and communications, finance and human resource management, for example.

We also ensure our content reflects specific future workforce needs and activity is often targeted at groups under-represented in particular fields, such as when we encourage more young men to consider careers in nursing.

Further programmes have been designed specifically to promote current shortage occupations, such as learning disability nurses and allied health professionals, who work alongside operators such as doctors and nurses to deliver a wide range of healthcare services.


We’ve put in place a cohesive network of partners – local employers and educators in health and care, in addition to NHS England – who co-fund the Pathways programme. Their other contributions include suggesting project ideas and promoting their own careers and courses. These organisations are:

  • The University of Huddersfield
  • Locala, a not-for profit community healthcare provider
  • Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • C&K Careers, which offers job-related information, advice, guidance and employment services to adults and young people.
  • Kirklees Health and Care Partnership, which plans and delivers services aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of local people. This kind of body can include organisations from across the NHS plus the voluntary, local government, social enterprise and community sectors.
  • NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, which oversees the driving of improved outcomes by the county’s health and care partnerships.
  • Calderdale College

A fully engaged and skillful talent pipeline will be crucial going forward and this initiative is making clear headway in driving interest and awareness in the sector among young people, as well as making a clear intervention to help meet the regional skills need

Steve Brennan, Kirklees Place Programme Director, Kirklees Health and Care System

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