Lancashire student wins regional finals of NHS schools careers competition

Grace, a 12-year-old student from Penwortham Girls High School in Preston, has become the North West regional winner of the ‘Step into the NHS’ competition recognising her creative and detailed board game showcasing the role of an occupational therapist.

You can see Grace explaining her competition winning board game visit on YouTube

2021 North West regional winner, Grace said: “I enjoyed taking part in the NHS competition because it was interesting to learn about the different roles. I learned that occupational therapists help patients do day to day things such as shopping.

“I was inspired to make my entry for occupational therapists because I think they should be more appreciated for the work they do because people don’t thank them enough for the massive difference they make in people's lives.

“The NHS means a lot to me because I feel like we wouldn't be a nation without it because they have changed thousands of people's lives.”

The Step into the NHS secondary school’s competition runs annually to help to raise career aspirations and awareness of more than 350 careers available in the NHS. To enter, students created a job description and advert aimed at informing their friends about their chosen career within the NHS.

The Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership Careers and Engagement team have been working alongside Health Education England (HEE) to support their ‘Step into the NHS’ competition with local schools, with around 18,000 entries from 134 secondary schools.

The Careers and Engagement team provide a wealth of opportunities for people in Lancashire and South Cumbria to inspire and support people into their dream career in Health and Social Care including virtual work experience, events, and apprenticeships.

Ruth Keeler, Strategic Lead for Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership Careers and Engagement said:

I was really honoured to present Grace with her award, her boardgame was a really creative and engaging way to demonstrate a day in a life of an occupational therapist. We are planning to work with Grace to transform her board game into a virtual resource that can be shared with schools to inspire and provide an understanding of what it might be like to work as an occupational therapist and other healthcare roles.

“Step into the NHS is a brilliant opportunity for students to find out more about potential career opportunities in the NHS, I’d definitely encourage local schools to take part. This year, students chose a range of NHS professions, from biomedical scientist and speech and language therapist to chef and director of operations.”

Gabrielle Forest, a teacher from Penwortham Girls High School in Preston said:

“Taking part in the NHS competition has been a great experience. We tasked all our year 7 and 8 pupils to take part in the competition and our students produced some wonderful work and were extremely creative. They mostly enjoyed learning about all the different roles in the NHS which they have never heard of before and how these might suit them. The NHS has been a massive part of everyone's lives the past year and it was great for them to learn more about the NHS.”

For more information about Step into the NHS in schools and how to get involved, visit:

For information about careers in the NHS or to talk to an NHS career advisor, visit: