Research shows that one of the biggest barriers to the growth of the profession is that most young people simply don’t know about it. Those joining the profession have always found out about it from family or friends, or they have heard about it during their first degree, perhaps English, linguistics or psychology.
There is a potential role for every SLT to be involved in attracting the next generation of students. Not only by taking part in careers events for example, but in every contact with service users there is potential in spreading knowledge of the profession.
Information for prospective students about becoming a speech and language therapist can be found here.
There is also information on which universities offer pre-registration training and the apprenticeship route.
Following our careers and diversity workshop held in June 2019, we are developing a number of projects aimed at promoting SLT as a career.
Details of the projects can be found on the current projects page.
There are small and larger roles that you could take on, so take a look and see what might suit you.
Resources for SLTs
The RCSLT Careers guide
The RCSLT Careers guide is also available in hard copy for careers events.
Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to order some for an event.
Letter to schools
Download and amend this template to use to contact schools about careers.
Download the presentation to use at a careers event
Diversity in the speech and language therapy pdf
We have compiled a snapshot of research about perceptions and diversity in speech and language therapy and in other healthcare professions. References are included if you would like to do further reading.
Diversity in the Speech and language therapy profession pdf
Here are some of the videos about SLT that you could use in careers promotion activities:
RCSLT would like to develop a wider range of videos to help promote the profession. If you would like to contribute a video, please read the guidance below.
RCSLT is collecting a range of images about SLT that you are free to use in careers promotion activities. If you would like to contribute images to the bank, please read the guidance below.
Guidance and consent
For images and videos featuring SLTs and SLT assistants/students, we require you to fill out this consent form. You may also need the consent of your employer, so please bear this in mind.
If there are any service users or school children in your images or videos, you will need to fill out this consent form. Please get in touch if you have any questions.
Photos should be at least 240 dpi, but preferably 300 dpi. They can be either jpeg or png.
Videos can be MP4 format and ideally between 1 and 3 mins long.
Part of our goal is to encourage greater diversity in the profession, and not only in respect of gender, so we would like to see a broad representation where possible.
Here are some examples of questions we’re hoping to answer with images and videos:
- What do speech and language therapy students do?
- What does a first job look like?
- What are some surprising things about speech and language therapy?
- What are the common myths about speech and language therapy?
- What characteristics or skills are useful?
HEE’s strategic framework for engagement with schools and communities to build a diverse healthcare workforce sets out how to reach out to young people, broaden their horizons and raise their aspirations to create a more diverse workforce within health.
We also work with Health Education England and NHS England to ensure that there is material about speech and language therapy as a career on their sites.
The NHS is working with inspiring the future to facilitate NHS Ambassadors going in to local schools and colleges to talk about their role and range of healthcare careers. You can sign up to be an Ambassador here.
Thinking about workforce make-up or preparing a business case to promote speech and language therapy to a wider population? Vist NHS Employers Measuring Up, a digital tool to compare your workforce data with that of the local community to identify underrepresented groups.
You may also find the Step into the NHS site useful.
Careers and diversity workshop
As well as raising the profile of speech and language therapy as a career, we are also looking at ways to improve the diversity of the profession.
We recognise that the issues are complex and have been persistent over many years. In terms of career choice, young people are influenced in many different ways and by many experiences.
With that in mind, in June 2019, we hosted a Careers and Diversity workshop to highlight and discuss the issues of diversity within the profession and develop plans to tackle them.
The aims of the event were:
- To develop ideas and actions to increase recognition of the profession.
- To explore why the speech and language therapy profession does not reflect the diversity of the population it serves and to develop ideas and actions that seek to address those issues.
- To recognise the social complexity of the issues and the wider impacts on diversity and career choices.
Projects to promote speech and language therapy
There are 3,500 secondary schools and approximately 12,000 SLTs in England. If every SLT were to offer a careers talk once every three years we could potentially reach every school in England.
See more about the schools outreach work on the projects page.
- Improved visibility of speech and language therapy as a career choice.
- Increased interest in speech and language therapy as a profession.
- Increased diversity of the speech and language therapy student population.
The research available suggests that there is a lack of diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status within the speech and language profession.
Contributing factors for this include, but are not limited to:
- A lack of profile of the profession, especially among boys.
- Misconceptions about what SLTs do.
- The status of the profession and lack of understanding that it is a degree level profession.
(see footnote for reference)
There are around 3,700 secondary schools in England and around 12,000 SLTs registered with the HCPC in England, and we think it should be possible to contact every school with a sixth form on a regular basis to offer an SLT to attend careers events.
We can create a shareable spreadsheet for each local area that lists all the secondary schools and their websites and head teacher details (this is available publicly from gov.uk).
We also need to ensure we try to reach schools in areas with low participation rates for HE and that we are considering a diverse range of schools generally.
We recommend that 2-4 SLTs, students or assistants manage the emailing of schools and allocation of events to SLTs.
Where schools accept, allocate an SLT, a student SLT or both to attend.
A basic toolkit is available:
- Template letter/email to send to schools.
- Template presentation.
- RCSLT careers booklet.
- SLT stories and image
We envisage targeting pupils in year 12 as they are considering university choices in the summer/autumn of each year.
We only need to target schools with sixth forms, and there are some schools where it will not be appropriate, for example, specialist maths or engineering colleges.
Perceptions of speech and language therapy amongst UK school and college students: implications for recruitment Nan Greenwood, Jannet A. Wright and Christine Bithell INT. J. LANG. COMM. DIS., JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2006, VOL. 41, NO. 1, 83–94.
The statistics below are about the speech and language therapy student population. If you reproduce these graphs then please also ensure the sources are referenced too.
In terms of the profession as a whole, we only know that it is 3% male , 97% female from HCPC figures. We do not have any other diversity information.
Sources: HESA Student Record 2015/16; HESA Student Record 2014/15; HESA DLHE Record 2015/16; HESA DLHE Record 2014/15; HESA Student Record 2016/17; HESA DLHE Record 2016/17; HESA Student Record 2017/18. Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited. Neither the Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited nor HESA Services Limited can accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from data or other information supplied by HESA Services.
Definition: The POLAR4 classification is formed by ranking five groups from quintile 1 areas, with the lowest young participation (most disadvantaged), up to quintile 5 areas with the highest rates (most advantaged), each representing 20 percent of the UK young cohort. Students have been allocated to the neighbourhoods on the basis of their postcode. Those students whose postcode falls within middle layer super output areas with the lowest participation (quintile 1) are denoted as being from a low participation neighbourhood.
Sources: HESA Student Record 2015/16;HESA Student Record 2014/15;HESA DLHE Record 2015/16;HESA DLHE Record 2014/15;HESA Student Record 2016/17;HESA DLHE Record 2016/17;HESA Student Record 2017/18. Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited. Neither the Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited nor HESA Services Limited can accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from data or other information supplied by HESA Services.