FastFutures - training, resourcing and mentoring opportunity for health and social care employers

Published on 11 November 2022

School leavers, Mentoring, Learning and development, NHS Digital Academy, Graduates

Health Education England's NHS Digital Academy is growing and evolving, and we are building a diverse range of learning offers and partnerships. 

For the last 2 years the NHS Digital Academy has partnered with Avado Learning to promote their FastFuture's programme across the NHS. Built to bridge the gap between education and employment, the free FastFutures programme increases the employability of young people from all backgrounds by preparing them for an increasingly digital workplace.

Since its launch in the summer of 2020, FastFutures has already trained 5,700+ young people from diverse backgrounds in the transferable, digital business skills that employers need. Learners consistently report feeling more confident and more employable, most begin to secure interviews within weeks and over half find work within six months of graduating.

Digital and data skills bootcamps

So much was the success of FastFutures, the government has expanded this model to release several new digital and data bootcamps which are fully funded by the Department for Education (70% funded for existing employees). These 6 - 12 week bootcamps are available to both NHS colleagues and those seeking employment to the NHS. 

We see the NHS using the bootcamps in 2 ways:

  1. Up-skill current NHS staff to improve their data and digital skills - those who complete the bootcamp can also progress onto a professional digital apprenticeship
  2. Accessing a diverse talent pool of young people who have completed the training to potentially fill data and digital vacancies within the NHS and health and care partner organisations.

Find out more about digital and data skills bootcamps.   

Coaching and mentoring

Whilst FastFutures successfully addresses the critical need to grow a diverse talent pipeline for health and care, it also seeks to build digital capability, offering learners a powerful opportunity to benefit from coaching and mentoring by employer partners.

Mentoring is an integral part of the FastFutures programme, where each learner is matched with a mentor from across employer partners. Under the umbrella of the NHS Digital Academy, HEE is the lead organisation for the NHS and a proactive partner alongside BT, Shell and other high-profile companies. Mentors support with practical activities such as CV building, the development of LinkedIn profiles and help with job applications, as well as enriching the learner's experience and bridging the gap between FastFutures and the world of work. As learners progress through FastFutures, they are encouraged to reflect on what they are learning and take ownership of their development.

We know from research that mentoring is a powerful tool in the learning and development toolkit:

The impact mentors can have on the learners is powerful, words of encouragement make all the difference:

"Mentoring was very important, especially in my case where my parents weren't that well informed. I needed someone to talk to, someone to bounce my ideas off and more or less steer me in the right direction. My mentor encouraged me to just go after this job because I didn't believe I'd be able to get it - I knew how competitive it was. He just said, 'go for it' and I went for it, so I got lucky!" - FastFutures learner.

If you work in health and care and are interested in finding out more about any of the opportunities that FastFutures could bring to you or your organisation please email [email protected].