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Young People

School Work Placements

NHS Lothian offers up to one-week work experience placements for pupils who are currently in education.
S4 - Fourth year pupils usually seek ‘experience of work’; whilst very useful, it is not the same type of work experience as in a care setting, so we advise S4s to seek non-clinical placements.
S4 pupils looking to study medicine can apply to the Medic Insight one-day information workshop.
S5 and S6 - Work experience placements are available to S5 and S6 pupils who have a keen interest in pursuing a career in the NHS. The pupils will be asked to complete an application form providing details of their area of interest and evidencing they meet the criteria to be placed in the department or ward.
We find placements for pupils from 54 state schools and 11 independent schools across Edinburgh and the Lothians as well as dealing with a large number of college and university requests.  If your school is outwith Edinburgh and the Lothians, please apply to your local NHS Board for a placement.
If you would be interested in a work placement with NHS Lothian, please speak to your guidance teacher. Wards and departments which are particularly sensitive in nature sometimes don’t allow under 18’s to attend placement. It is advisable in these instances to have a second choice of clinical area for a placement.
Further information on work placements can be found in our work placement booklet.
The JET (Jobs Education Training) Programme - The JET programme is a work-based learning programme combining school education with vocational training and real work experience. Several employers, including NHS Lothian, provide a work experience placement for one day per week over the school year. Participants (S4 and S5 pupils) undertake SQA’s Employability Award and other vocational qualifications and develop skills for employability.

If you want to take part in the JET programme speak to your guidance teacher.
MY-JET STEM - The Midlothian S6 Job and Education and Training, Science Technology, Engineering, Mathematics  (MY-JET STEM) programme is aimed at school students within Midlothian who are progressing on to university to study medicine. The aim is to back up the vocational qualifications with work experience. The placement is one day per week during term time. For further information contact Julia Ellison, Client Liaison Officer.
Medic Insight - Medic Insight is a voluntary organisation established in 2008. Its aim is to provide school students with a realistic insight into a career in medicine. For more information on their application process and programme visit their website.
Project SEARCH - Project SEARCH originated at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in America.  It brings together a partnership of an employer, an educational provider and a supported employment specialist to work with young people aged 16 to 24 with a disability who want to move into full-time paid employment. It has been so successful it was franchised with the Scottish Government giving a license to organisations wanting to run their own Project SEARCH.
In 2015 NHS Lothian joined partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, Into Work and Edinburgh College to deliver the programme at the Western General Hospital.
Each intern works in a ward or department four hours a day, Monday to Friday and has classroom time before and after work. 
Alongside the work experience provided, each intern undertakes a course of study leading to an SQA award in which they learn about employability and workplace etiquette.

To see a video of the graduation of the 2016/17 interns click here.
More information on Project SEARCH can be found on The City of Edinburgh Council website.

Press release - 500 graduate now in full-time employment in UK through Project SEARCH.

The Skills Training Programme - This is run by West Lothian Council and is open to 16 to 19 year-old school leavers who need support to move into employment or training. The programme consists of up to 26 weeks’ work experience four days a week in a work placement.
NHS Lothian works in partnership with West Lothian Council and offers placements to young people through this programme. For more information on The Skills Training Programme visit the West Lothian Council website.
Princes Trust - This is for young people aged 16 to 24 years old. Through the Princes Trust, NHS Lothian runs the Facilities Academy and the Clinical Academy. The academies run for six weeks; two of which are live work experience within a hospital setting. The academy could lead to permanent employment within NHS Lothian. For further information phone 0800 842 842 or visit their website.
This is just a selection of the organisations NHS Lothian works with to offer placements to young people. If you know of a local organisation or agency in your area, you could ask if they work in partnership with NHS Lothian.
Before you go on a placement, some checks may need to be in place first, e.g. Disclosure Scotland screening, Occupational Health Service clearance, etc. You will be advised of this and given the necessary paperwork to complete.
No matter your level of skills and experience, NHS Lothian will have work experience or a placement to suit you and help you gain relevant experience and develop your employability skills.

Career Events

As well as work placements and work experience, the workplacement team also holds career events to give out information on the different careers available in NHS Lothian. These can be held in schools, universities and other public venues in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Sometimes services such as nursing, medical photography, etc attend these events and offer in-depth information on their service. If you are still at school, your guidance teacher will advise of upcoming events or check our news pages.

Higher Education Institutes

After going on a placement or work experience, you may become interested in a career within NHS Lothian but you don’t think you have the qualification for the role. Below is a list of the universities and colleges in Edinburgh and the Lothians that will give advice on courses in their institute:
You may have a qualification through the Scottish Credit Qualification Framework (SCQF) but are unsure if it is equivalent to the qualification asked for in the role you are interested in. Check the framework guidance section of the SCQF website, which has an interactive table showing higher education qualifications and the equivalent SQA qualification.

Further Information

For further information on work placements and work experience that NHS Lothian offers, email the workplacement team

  • ERASMUS students – if you are a student who is looking for a placement opportunity, this should be explored, in the first instance, via the local Higher Education Institute (HEI), which provides the same or similar course. They will be able to confirm if the HEI that you attend has an ERASMUS agreement that will allow such a placement to be considered. This will be organised by them, not NHS Lothian. Please note that NHS Lothian cannot guarantee that an ERASMUS placement will be supported as it meets existing local HEI commitments before considering if there is capacity to support an ERASMUS placement.
  • Arrangements for clinical attachments – when considering if a clinical placement can be supported and is available, any age or health and safety restrictions that are in place within that area must be adhered to before agreeing to a placement. If it is not possible to support a request, information on the reasons why will be provided by the work placement team.


As well as work experience and placements, NHS Lothian also has a volunteering service. For more information, visit the volunteering web pages.


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