July 15, 2022: Professor Jonathan Van Tam – or JVT as he has become known – has sent a celebratory message to the 909 St John Ambulance NHS Cadets who graduate this weekend, after successfully completing the 36-week NHS Cadet programme.

NHS Cadets is a flagship youth programme created in partnership between the NHS and St John, aimed at directing young people into volunteering in health and care and considering careers in healthcare.

The England wide youth programme, launched in 2020, has a Foundation pathway for 14-16 year-olds which saw 627 graduate this year, and an Advanced course for 16-18 year-olds, which saw 282 graduate.

In an online video message, which will be aired at the Graduation ceremony on July 16, which will also include NHS and St John key leaders, JVT said: “Well done on passing out through your courses, and thank you for the service you have given and you will continue to give  supporting the communities in which you live and also supporting our wonderful National Health Service – once again congratulations.”

Professor Van-Tam, an influenza expert, became a household figure after his key role in fighting the pandemic, becoming a Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England. He stepped down to take up an academic role at Nottingham University in March of this year.

NHS Cadets offers young people a chance to develop their leadership and communication skills, promotes health awareness, teamwork and a host of other key skills and training.

Emma Easton, Deputy Director for Voluntary Partnerships at NHS England said “The NHS Cadets programme is a fantastic initiative that introduces young people to different roles within the NHS and particularly targets young people that might not otherwise consider a career in health or social care.

“By building their confidence through gaining skills and trying different volunteering opportunities, the programme is building the confidence and forging  a connection between young people and their local healthcare system.”  

St John Ambulance NHS Cadet Programme Manager, Emily Whyte, said, “This has been our most successful year yet, with record numbers, which is fantastic. On behalf of St John Ambulance and NHS England, a huge congratulations to all NHS Cadets on their successful graduation.”

To find out more about NHS Cadets and our youth programmes please visit: https://www.sja.org.uk/get-involved/young-people/