Upside down watches are the new black. (Or – why nursing may be the only career you’ll ever need and it’s both recession and future proof.)

Simply tick a magic box marked Brexit and all the ills, concerns and suspicions you have of the European project and that filthy Johnny Foreigner can forever be eradicated. Money will pour like manna from the heavens into an enormous ever full treasure chest, the NHS will operate like never before awash with cash and one to one nurses and surgeons. So went the rhetoric, or may as well have done. The slowing of house price growth, the weakening of the pound, the political dystopia not withstanding the biggest lie was that about the NHS.

What’s that got to do with careers planning you ask? Well, despite the fact that the bursary for trainee nurses has been removed there will be plenty of opportunities for anyone interested in healthcare, indeed with the removal of the bursary (which consequently makes it a much less attractive proposition) there are an additional 10,000 spaces available. With a projected shortfall of 30,000 + nurses and an aging and growing population the opportunities will be growing thick and fast so you will never struggle for work.

Right, so what’s that got to do with the EU? I’m glad you asked, the reason the careers opportunity and guaranteed work is ever clearer now is that applications from the EU for work as nurses as dropped 96%. NINETY SIX. In the month of April only 46 nurses from the EU applied for work. That’s down from 1,304 in July last year. In itself that is startling figure but it becomes ever more stark when you realise just how reliant the NHS is on immigrant workers, indeed staff from the EU account for 70,000 workers in the NHS of which around 20,000 are nurses.


That’s fine we’ll pick up the slack – After the bursary was dropped, there was a 23% decline in British students so the numbers don’t really stack up on that front either. On the plus side the long hours, relentless paperwork and demands of the job means that those nurses we do have are leaving the profession as well.

Cool, cool. Glibness aside, this is obviously a problem for the NHS and for everyone living here who is reliant on the service they provide. However it is also an opportunity – to train for a career that will never see you short of work, would allow you to travel and work overseas and despite the removal of the bursary the continuous professional development opportunities within the NHS are still better than in many, many private sector businesses. Also, although the bursary deadline is August 2017, opportunities still exist to get funding for training as a doctor, dentist, dental hygienist, dental therapist after this date, depending on your circumstances. There are only a handful of other places where you can train to the equivalent of degree level without incurring huge debt so the expectation shouldn’t be that anyone foot the bill but you, but at least, unlike a conventional degree, you are pretty much guaranteed work.

So what did we learn? There are jobs aplenty and indeed even some funding to train for certain positions within the NHS but no matter what, you will never be out of work. Given the parlous state of the economy it is staggering that the fringe benefit of political hari-kari is job security, so if you’re unsure where to look or what to do after school maybe consider healthcare as an option.


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