Ready to join our team of heroes?

Join today!

Do you have a few minutes to tell us what you think about this page?

Take our quick survey.

NHS Cadets has given me key communication skills that I can transfer to everyday life. I feel much more confident and I’ve enjoyed gaining knowledge and experience about working in the NHS.


Why join NHS Cadets?

NHS Cadets thoroughly enjoy their time on the programme. Being an NHS Cadet means having fun, making friends, and learning from your brilliant youth team. You’ll be part of a supportive group of like-minded people with leaders you can trust and rely on.

NHS Cadets is a great addition to your CV and will help you to stand out in future college, university, volunteering or job applications. You’ll improve your confidence and develop sought after skills like resilience, problem solving and teamwork. NHS Cadets also have access to other opportunities for personal development like the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), and the Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA).

Whilst gaining experience and learning new skills, you’ll build your awareness of volunteering in the NHS and benefit your community. On completing the pathway, you’ll receive an exclusive NHS Cadets certificate and pin badge. You can share the certificate with future employers to tell them about the programme, and wear your pin badge whenever you volunteer with the NHS.

Plus, the programme is completely free for those who qualify!


I joined the programme because I thought it would be a good experience and look good on my CV. I have learned things that I would not have learned anywhere else, and it has given me a real insight into other people's lives and what the future might be like.

NCVO findings, July 2021, Foundation Pathway


of NHS Cadets say that everyone treats each other with respect


of NHS Cadets trust their youth leaders


feel welcome at NHS Cadets

NCVO findings, July 2021, Foundation Pathway


of NHS Cadets were satisfied with the programme. Their reasons included:

  • finding sessions fun or exciting
  • learning new skills
  • enjoying getting to know other NHS Cadets.

How does it work?

NHS Cadets meet in groups of 20-30 throughout term-time, one evening per week. Over the course of 36 weeks, you’ll take part in a range of 90-minute sessions delivered by your experienced youth leaders. In these sessions, you’ll do lots of different activities to develop your healthcare knowledge such as research tasks, debates, games and quizzes.

The programme is split into two pathways: Foundation and Advanced. You can choose to complete them in succession or independently, depending on which are offered near you.

Click the boxes below to find out more about each pathway...

Are you our next NHS Cadet?

We are delighted that you are interested in our programme! Our Cadets come from a diverse range of backgrounds: examples could include caring for a family member, being a refugee, or coming from a minority ethnic background. There is no 'typical' NHS Cadet, and there could be one or more reasons why our programme would be a good match for you.

We need to make sure NHS Cadets is helping those who will benefit most from our pathways into healthcare, and we measure this though our application form. Some of the questions might feel a bit personal at first. Remember you can select 'prefer not to say', or tell us about yourself in your own words too.

Click each header to find out what we ask on the application form. We'll explain more about each point to help you understand if you qualify.

I'm from a minority ethnic group

NHS Cadets champions diversity: we aim to be ethnically diverse and mirror the communities we work in. We would love to hear from you if you identify as having an ethnic minority background.

There are lots of different ethnic groups, and an ethnic minority is defined as all groups except the White British group. Minority ethnic groups can include Asian, Asian British, Black, African, Caribbean, Arab, and a full list can be found on this website.


Helpful facts:

  • Sometimes ethnicities can be listed as nationalities, such as Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani or Chinese.
  • You can be from a White minority ethnic group, and this could include Gypsy, Roma and Irish Traveller groups.
  • If you are from a Mixed ethnic group, you will identify with more than one of these groups. Mixed and Multiple ethnic backgrounds are recognised as minority ethnic groups, and this includes people with part White British heritage.
I am not the only ethnic minority in my group - I was really glad to see how inclusive and diverse the programme is. Foundation NHS Cadet, who identifies as having a minority ethnic background

How to tell us when you apply:

“Are you from a minority ethnic group?”

You can select 'Yes', 'No' or 'Prefer not to say'. This information will help your application if it is your main reason for applying.

More information about ethnicities is available here from the Government’s website.

I consider myself part of the LGBTQI+ community  |  I am Questioning

I'm not in education, employment or training (NEET)  |  I'm at risk of this

I'm struggling with my progress at school or college

I provide regular care or support for someone

I live in care  |  I've recently left care

I receive free school meals

I have mental health concerns

I consider myself neurodivergent  |  I have special educational needs

I consider myself to have a disability or impairment

I am seeking asylum  |  I am a refugee

Contact us if you're not sure

It is totally okay if you just aren’t sure about some of the questions. Please drop us a message and our friendly team will be happy to help.

We feel our youth programmes offer something for everyone, so we'll be happy to find the perfect opportunity for you.

Contact us

Frequently asked questions

Can't find a location near you? Want to find other St John opportunities?

Our FAQ section is here to help.

Find answers

Get involved

Click below to search for NHS Cadet groups near you and begin your application.