NHS ‘cadets’ are being recruited across the district.

Young people aged 14 to 16 will receive training in first aid and leadership skills and will be given volunteering opportunities within the health service – including hands-on work experience at hospitals.

The first 100 candidates are now being sought, to start a programme in September.

Young people from across Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven can take part.

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust and St John Ambulance are spearheading the initiative, which is part of a wider national collaboration between NHS England/Improvement and the St John charity.

The care trust is among the first seven trusts nationally participating in the programme – and the only one in this region.

Chief aim of the venture is to help improve patient care whilst offering a route into health service employment for up to 10,000 young people across the country.

Its mission statement has been developed in partnership with young people, leaders and healthcare professionals.

The £6 million programme, being funded jointly by NHS England and St John Ambulance, is particularly keen to recruit young people from marginalised backgrounds – including teenagers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; young people not in employment, education or training, or at risk of becoming so, and others who might not have previously considered a career in the NHS.

The extra-curricular programme will take about a year to complete and will include a two-hour evening commitment once a week. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there may be a combination of face-to-face and virtual sessions so participants will need access to appropriate technology.

Paul Hogg, the care trust’s director of corporate affairs, said the organisation was delighted to be involved.

“Bradford is one of the youngest cities and districts in Europe – 25 per cent of its population is aged under 16,” he said.

“This work will help us strengthen our existing connections across communities and work with a diverse group of young people who might be interested in a career within the NHS. It’s a great example of our ‘community connector’ role and we look forward to welcoming our new cadets in September.”

For further information, including details of how to register, visit bdct.nhs.uk/get-involved/volunteering or email nhscadets@bdct.nhs.uk.