A careers campaign with a difference

Raising awareness of allied healthcare careers was the main driver for the I See the Difference campaign.

In this section

In This Section

The impact on patients

Therapeutic Radiographers support some of the most vulnerable people: individuals who are going through cancer treatment. A highly specialised role, therapeutic radiography expertise is and will continue to be in high demand.

In 2018, the Society of Radiographers critised the government over their lack of action around ensuring the future of radiography services. In particular, the Society noted a shortage of therapeutic radiographers will have 'critical effect' for cancer treatment. At the time, half of patients diagnosed with cancer received radiotherapy as part of their tretment plan and the view was this would rise to six out of 10 patients by 2025. 


Richard Evans, Chief Executive Officer of the Society and College of Radiographers (SoR | CoR) said:

"For some years there have not been enough qualified therapeutic radiographers. This threatens to cause delays to patients receiving treatment. The shortage of qualified staff could become significantly worse because universities which deliver the degree are reporting that the number of students signed up for the three-year course from September has slumped diastrously. In one instance, we have been told that recruitment of school leavers and mature students to their course has dropped by 50% compared to previous years. One provider even said they are planning to drop the therapeutic radiography programme for 2019 because of the difficulty in recruiting students." 


A fall in applications for courses since 2017, was seen across all allied health professions (AHPs) of which therapeutic radiographer is one. 

Without a successful intervention to raise continuous awareness of this career path with potential students, those receiving cancer treatment will have limited access to radiotherapy services.

If we don't have enough students looking at a career in therapeutic radiotherapy, we will not have enough qualified therapeutic radiographers joining the healthcare workforce to plan and deliver radiotherapy. 

Background to the campaign

Funded by the Office for Students (OfS) and part of the Strategic Interventions in Health Education Disciplines (SIHED) programme, the campaign targeted young people in schools and college as well as mature students using a variety of resources to support the delivery of careers outreach education across the UK.

In particular the campaign focused on increasing awareness of career paths in four key allied health professions (AHPs):

  • Therapeutic Radiography
  • Orthoptics
  • Prosthetics and Orthotics
  • Podiatry

The SIHED programme began in January 2018 and ran until March 2021, with a budget of £1 million per year. The campaign was successfully launched during this time, with the promotional website and supporting resources still in use to this day.


Video: Examples of graphics created for the I see the difference campaign. 


A slide from the ‘Mature Student and Career Changers’ presentation

Image: A slide from the ‘Mature Student and Career Changers’ presentation


Page from the AHP information pack for A Level Students

Image: Page from the AHP information pack for A Level Students


How we were involved

In 2018, we welcomed a new member of staff on secondment to work exclusively on the project. Michelle Tyler became our Outreach Officer, working on the I See the Difference marketing campaign and responsible for representing the College and our profession.

Michelle’s key objectives starting the project were:

  • Raise awareness of our profession
  • Increase applications and acceptances to course
  • Improve retention and student experience
  • To build relationships and network with practitioners and academics

At the Annual Radiotherapy Conference 2020, Michelle gave an update on where the project team were in meeting these objectives, giving examples of the different marking activities she had undertaken:

Audio: Outreach in our Therapeutic Radiography Community and Beyond [29:18]

Programme and Campaign activities

The core activities delivered across 2018 – 2021 included:

  • Creation of resources and marketing and communication assets to support I See the Difference. This included posters, social media graphics, age specific presentations, case studies, information packs, lesson plans, interactive resources, videos and live TV.
  • Launch of the 'I see the difference' website, which housed the resources and delivered a wider allied health message
  • An interactive programme of in person and digital careers event
  • A programme of events based within schools and colleges
  • Development of initiatives to improve the clinical placement experience for students
  • Commissioning research to understand mature and under-represented student experiences that might lead to recruitment challenges
  • Supporting and encouraging the use of simulation to support learning

Video: The WOW Show – Live Health Careers Special [June 2019]

What the campaign achieved

Because of the extensive outreach activities, the campaign achieved the following:

  • 345,000 unique visitors accessed the I See the Difference website between April 2019 and December 2020
  • 5,634 returning visitors during the same period, with over 2,848 views on the therapeutic radiography page
  • Over 25,000 young people and 1,500 educational professionals learnt about AHP careers at 470 in person and virtual events
  • During summer 2020, 100 webinars were run reaching 2,500 people
  • Well attended in person and online stakeholder engagement events
  • 12 week promotional campaign in GP 500 waiting rooms reached 5 million individuals
  • GP campaign saw 9,250 leaflets (out of 10,000) taken from promotional stands
  • 1,400 serious conversations with potential applicants
  • A dedicated legacy plan, meaning all resources and the website are still available
  • 15 ‘Challenge Fund’ awardees to support innovation in education. An example of radiography ‘Challenge Fund’ project, can be heard on this podcast: https://www.councilofdeans.org.uk/2021/07/codhcast-sihed-challenge-fund-projects-sheffield-hallam-university/
  • Enhanced relationships across the campaign partners and professional bodies
  • £141,000 in funding was giving to therapeutic radiography programmes

Overview the campaign has led to an increase in course applications, with a steady increase noted since work started in 2018:

Data compiled for the SIHED Programme evaluation report written by SQW

Image: Data compiled for the SIHED Programme evaluation report written by SQW


Additionally, new postgraduate courses and degree apprenticeship routes have been introduced which should see the positive trend continue, especially amongst our potential mature students.

Continuing the impact

At the close of the SIHED programme an evaluation report made 10 recommendations on how the positive response to the outreach activities could be maintained and continued. The recommendations included:

  • Continuing the I See the Difference campaign
  • Working on greater alignment with national campaigns and moving to a targeted outreach approach that is connected to careers networks
  • Continuing collaboration across AHPs, ensuring captured learning, resources and marketing is shared

The Society of Radiographers created a new permanent position for a Careers Promotion and Outreach Professional Officer in 2021. This new post will build on the lessons learnt, expanding to focus on boosting awareness about both diagnostic and therapeutic radiography career pathways.   

A key piece of learning that came from the campaign is that everyone can ‘do’ outreach and the College of Radiographers can inspire and support Society members to promote the profession at every level. In collaboration with Health Education England (HEE) and the I See the Difference campaign, the Society launched in summer 2021 an e-learning programme called Promoting Careers in the Allied Health Professions.

Comprised of three interactive modules, the resources teach learners how to:

  • understand the context for outreach work and its importance
  • develop content that is relevant to different audiences
  • deliver compelling content that will help to inspire the next generation of AHPs

The course is available to all NHS based staff via the eLearning for Healthcare platform.

Banner image from the elfh Promoting Careers programme page

Image: Banner image from the eLfH Promoting Careers programme page

In 2022, the Careers Promotion and Outreach Professional Officer will continue to lead a review of all promotional materials as well as outlining improvements we could make to the College of Radiographers careers website.

We also hope to return to face to face outreach events at some point.