Capture of the collaboration between Talking Jobs and Brightside Trust

Published on 27 Jan, 2016

‘Collaborating with Talking Jobs added real value to the NHS Online Mentoring project. The player provides an innovative way to introduce young people to a range of careers, broaden their thinking and challenge their preconceptions; and encouraged numerous valuable and insightful conversations between them and their mentors.’

Alice Gravells, Project Coordinator, Brightside

Project summary

At the end of 2014 and start of 2015 the Brightside e-mentoring platform was used to connect NHS mentors with cohorts of year 12 /13 students in target schools and NEETS (young people not in education, employment or training) recruited into the scheme through jobcentres. The programme was carried in two waves with each lasting 10 weeks. The programme involved 544 mentees of which 462 were school students and 82 were NEETS. During each wave mentees from either cohort could choose from a range of online activities as preparation for e-mentoring sessions, including an online activity exploring video case studies via the Talking Jobs Health Module.

The activity for mentees

There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ job in the NHS, and there isn’t a ‘typical’ NHS employee either. Although every employee must have an interest in helping people and be good at working in a team, they work in lots of different ways and come from lots of different backgrounds – some of which might surprise you. The Talking Jobs video player features interviews with NHS employees in a range of roles, where they discuss not just what they do day-to-day, but also what they did before working for the NHS, how they keep a work/life balance and what their training was like, among many other things. It’s designed to give you a broad picture of what working for the NHS is like.

1. Click here to launch this module

2. Spend time exploring the interviews looking for 3-5 clips that interest you from a range of people.

3. Use the + button to add these clips to a shortlist of favourites.

4. Now click on the Favourites tab at the top of the page. You should now see a page showing transcripts of your favourite clips. You can also email these transcripts to yourself.

5. Discuss why you chose these clips with your mentor. Try and think of at least two things for each clip, such as anything that surprised you or anything new you learned. It might help if you cut and paste some of the quotes from the transcripts into your messages

Group size and analytic data

Wave 1: Sept 2014 onwards for 10 weeks

  • 232 mentees of which 188 were school students and 44 were NEETS
  • They launched 182 Talking Jobs sessions of which 123 were recorded as new users.
  • The average session duration was 08’39’’

Wave 2: January 2015 onwards for 10 weeks

  • 312 mentees of which 274 were school students and 38 were NEETS
  • They launched 278 Talking Jobs sessions of which 210 were recorded as new users.
  • The average session duration was 10’30’’.

Wave 1 and 2 combined

  • 544 mentees of which 462 were school students and 82 were NEETS
  • They launched 460 Talking Jobs sessions of which 333 were recorded as new users
  • The average session duration was 09’34’’

Survey extracts and impact metrics

At the end of their online exploration mentees were asked to give feedback about they had learned with responses submitted via the Talking Jobs interface. Mentees were asked the same question again as part of the Brightside exit survey completed post e-mentoring sessions. Both feedback mechanisms were voluntary and completed by portions of those that chose to access the module.

cross section of feedback given to the question: what have these interviews made you think about, and has it been useful?

  • These have been very useful in making me question my career goals within the NHS as there are so many seemingly great roles.
  • The interviews made me think about the range of careers within the NHS. They also led me to think about the little things I had not previously considered or known
  • It made me think about the wider picture with the jobs and not just necessarily what the jobs entail but how it affects you.
  • I might not get the future I'm hoping for so I should be flexible and open to new ideas and suggestions. To take advantage of all opportunities presented.
  • Interviews have made me think about how to approach specific interview questions and what potential questions could come up. Also that small gestures such as smiling and your posture make a big difference to the overall interview.
  • What the job really entails, and the good/bad sides to it. It's been useful in the sense that I know what to discuss with my mentor.

In the second wave a quantitative dimension was added to the feedback allowing the mentees to score different aspects of the experience out of 5 and added to both the Talking jobs and Brightside surveys.

Pre-mentoring via the Talking Job system a combined group of 24 mentees surveyed by Talking Jobs gave the following scores:

How useful was it to explore the case studies? 4.29 / 5
How useful was it to hear from a range of people? 4.67 / 5
How useful was it to learn from someone unexpected? 4.17 / 5
How useful was it to find out about peoples' early lives? 3.88 / 5

Post mentoring via the Brightside system 88 student mentees gave an average score of 3.43 / 5 to the question: “How useful did you find talking through the videos in this activity with your mentor?”

Extracts from mentoring exchanges – between school student and mentees (x5)

Mentee 1: I have chosen two Paediatrician scripts, questions four and nineteen, two Bio-medical Science scripts, questions two and nineteen and a Cardiac Nurse script, also question nineteen. I have chosen these scripts due to the fact that I know I want a practical job in medicine more so than the clerical side of things. I'd rather be someone who actively has a hand in medical examination/diagnosis/medicine administration or perhaps even research and these clips were the ones that best suited this choice. I chose mostly the qualification scripts as I need to be fully aware of the qualifications I need in order to be accepted into medical school and these clips gave me a helpful and useful insight into the qualifications needed to gain a variety of medical jobs all of which suit my criteria.

Mentor response: It's good that you have a sense of your preferences. I think this is the most useful exercise. If you are interested in research, once qualified as a doctor, and having completed your Foundation Year1 and 2, there's the option of a Clinical Research Fellow. We have a few of there. They often work between the hospital and university, and split their time between clinical work (surgery in some cases) and research work. Many consultants also undertake research, though they tend to have pretty busy schedules anyway.


Mentee : I watched the interview with the Paediatrician as that is the career path I am working towards. I found it quite fascinating to watch and it helped me really understand what it is a Paediatrician does. I also viewed some clips from the interview with the bio medical scientist. The bio medical scientist interview really made me think about having bio-medicine as a back-up plan in terms of my future career.

Mentor: Really glad you did this as it's much more potent to see someone doing the job than reading it on a screen. The A level path towards both is very similar, so it’s a great idea to have alternatives along the way. There are always specialities within both professions as well. For example you could become a Cardiac Paediatrician that specialises in cardiac abnormalities in Babies. What elements of the working environment did you like the look of? Which one do you think would suit your personality more?


Mentee: I chose a clip from the Paediatrician as that is currently something that I find interesting. I chose the clip from the person working in A&E as that was new information that I hadn’t heard previously, so it also made me think about that as a career prospect.

Mentor: Both really admirable choices and both present a challenging area of medicine, paediatrics can be had as the patients are children and that can bring with it the challenge of not being able to clearly communicate their symptoms, however the same could be said for some A+E patients...I think the biggest difference is probably the pace of the work. It is also worth noting that currently emergency departments are really short of Dr's and in general the pressures on emergency departments are on the increase, some of this is because the public will often find it easier to wait to be seen at an A+E rather than pure book an apt with their GP. Both a quite extreme ends of medicine with the unknown being a huge part of the day - I think you could be assured in that you would never be bored or doing the same thing twice in one day.


Mentee: I chose the questions about the next step in their career as I wanted to know what staff are doing with their degrees and experience. I also picked the question asking about how their training went because I wanted to know how they found it. I also wanted to know what the Cardiac nurse loved the best in her subject, I also wanted to know other people's reasons for going into healthcare.

Mentor response: Great! What key things did you learn from this? Did it give you some reassurance? The cardiac nurse talks about not knowing everything at the end of her training. She even says she felt like she didn't know much at all! I would definitely agree with this. It’s only when you start your job that you really begin to learn. As Albert Einstein once said: 'knowledge is experience, everything else is just information'


Mentee: biomedical scientist - describe a normal working day. It is a career I'm interested in and it is useful to know what it entails. Healthcare assistant- advice for young people. Don't go into a career without exploring your options first, make sure you will be happy.

Mentor response: Great answer. Good to see that you have look at the clips that are most relevant to your chosen career in the NHS. Although it’s good to look at where you intend to work i would also advise to look at roles that work closely with biomedical scientist to understand the process in regards to teamwork with them.

Extracts from mentoring exchanges – between NEETS and NHS mentees from the dataset (x3)

Mentee: Talking jobs was a very useful tool in giving exposure to a variety of professionals working at the NHS. I watched every person’s interview, albeit not all questions they were asked. My curiosity ranged from the health care professionals, in particular the physicist and biomedical scientist, since their educational backgrounds are slightly similar to mine. I found it insightful and liked how the physicist gets patient contact, which must feel like you’re more involved in the patient care. This lead to me to find out more about the nurse, from whom I learnt the extent of her involvement throughout the process as being “the voice of the patient”. Health care is close to my heart, and I want to be involved in it but I’m trying to find how I can use my fortes and strengths to best contribute and felt drawn towards the Programme Manager and Chief Executive, even though their involvement with the patient is minimal. However, because I feel that I like working in teams, work well with people and have good leadership qualities, I watched their interviews. What was interesting for me to learn was their educational background. It wasn’t always in management and they climbed the ladder to those posts and got relevant training. Sadly though, the interviews didn’t answer for me questions like how satisfying is your job overall, and as a creative individual, how much room is there for creative problem solving etc. Having said that, I can’t wait to find out more.

Mentor response: I am glad you have got something out of this. Although I do not have an educational background similar to yours, I am working for an organisation that is not patient facing and have very little contact with them at all, so I feel able to add comment. I am part of a team that delivers property to the right standard for other organisation to provide health care from, so our buildings have an effect on the patient’s experience. I do get a great deal of satisfaction from helping to deliver this, when I visit one of our properties I want to find it in the right condition and I want the people that work out of that build to be happy with its condition. I would say you can have a very satisfying job in the NHS without direct contact with the patients (I do), for me the key is remembering that each part has it role in the larger NHS team. So “me” getting my bit right means better health care experience for the general public and in my case better working conditions for NHS staff.


Mentee: What did I most joy about my work experience Loved with in the NHS and what they do it’s not all about the nurse and doctor but everyone else who works for the NHS

Mentor response: Yes Doctors and Nurses are all part of the Team and you are right to say that that NHS is not just about doctors and Nurses.


Mentee: The first clip was the a&e because it’s a clinical and nonclinical job and I would think that that is a great opportunity as you can do both but in a program manager it’s just nonclinical so they don't know what really goes on with all the doctors Clip2 Program manager She wanted to be a journalists or a social worker and I think that they are both great jobs but now the program that this is doing is designing a new hospital plan and she would like to engage with people to find out what they think to try and make it a better place I think that is the correct way to try and design anything like a new hospital or schools Clip 3 It doesn't matter how out come in to the NHS health service as the clip said but you can gain more experience and qualification if you try anything harder to achieve it and you get a break when you work and put the effort in to any job you do and then no matter how hard you try if you want something and put your mind to it you can get it.

Mentor response: You have chosen 3 different clips to discuss which shows to me you are looking to find out what the NHS is all about rather than just one area. It shows you want to learn more and be exposed to various areas job types. It is interesting to hear of the antisocial work patterns that different people undertake, mostly ward based staff. Does this interest you too?

The Talking Jobs Health Module can be found here