Breaking Barriers: Teenagers helped by Spotlight youth service into paid roles in the NHS.


Breaking Barriers: Teenagers helped by Spotlight youth service into paid roles in the NHS.

Since February 2023, Tower Hamlet’s teenagers have taken their first steps into vital roles in the NHS. In a first of its kind pilot collaboration between the youth service, Spotlight, and NHS Barts Health Trust. Spotlight, successfully empowered seven local young talents, who were not in work, into paid positions. These young people are now Emergency Department Assistants (EDAs) at one of London’s busiest Emergency Departments: The Royal London Hospital.

Pictured are the new young EDA’s, thrilled to be on the helipad of their new workplace to mark this huge achievement! All local young people from the local community. Now, set to start exciting new careers working in the same hospital where many of them were born.

What’s so groundbreaking about the EDA project?

NHS Barts Health Trust entrusted Spotlight, a youth service, with the responsibility of handling recruitment, interviews, and support through training; the first-time youth workers had responsibility to recruit directly into the NHS.

The group have since started their roles and are all enjoying the experience. The hospital has been extremely happy with this pilot project, and the NHS has expressed interest in running it again, and also in other areas within London.

Michel Carver, ED Nurse and Clinical Lead for the NHS Violence Reduction Academy, expressed his immense pride in this collaboration, saying:

“This has been one of my proudest moments at the Royal London Hospital. Thanks to the Spotlight team for making it happen, and kudos to the young people for taking the plunge into something new and exciting.”

What do these Emergency Department Assistants do?

They play a pivotal role in reassuring patients and their families, supporting medical staff, and ensuring the smooth operation of the department. It’s a challenging yet rewarding experience for the right young person.

To finish this amazing and inspiring story, hear from one of Spotlight’s young people and new EDA’s!

I have impressed myself with how quickly I’ve been able to learn how to put in cannulas, take bloods and perform ECGs. I have also been able to broaden my network of healthcare professionals as I am always in the presence of doctors, nurses and physician associates. Without the programme, I wouldn’t have ever been sure on whether or not a healthcare role would be suited to me. 

 It is so so important for young people to be able to take roles like this. I’ve had so much exposure to the different struggles people have in the community, with not just their physical health but also language barriers and financial struggles. This fuels a passion for caring for others and with more caring young people, you build a kinder community. You’re able to gain a sense of the real world and it teaches you basic skills like time management and good communication. As it’s a paid role, it’s a good lesson on earning your money and therefore teaches you how to manage your own finances. Being able to take on such a role after just leaving school also motivates you to keep going on to do great things.”

Young EDA – Amina Begum