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Strategic Interventions in Health Education Disciplines (SIHED) – supporting small specialist health careers

Strategic Interventions in Health Education Disciplines (SIHED) – supporting small specialist health careers

The College of Podiatry has received funding from the Office for Students (formerly HEFCE) to provide leadership in delivering a significant part of the SIHED programme in partnership with the Society of Radiographers, the British and Irish Orthoptic Society and the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists.

The SIHED programme launched in March 2018, and is expected to run for three years with a budget of £1 million per year.  

The SIHED programme aims to:

  • increase awareness of allied health disciplines
  • increase understanding of and demand for small specialist allied health disciplines
  • strengthen and diversify the delivery of the small and specialist disciplines covered by this initiative
  • develop a better understanding of the mature student market for nursing, midwifery and allied health.


The disciplines covered by the programme are:

  • Orthoptics
  • Podiatry
  • Prosthetics & Orthotics
  • Therapeutic Radiography


In 2017-18, the priority activities of the programme are:

  • Developing and delivering a marketing and communications campaign to support student recruitment to the professions in scope from September 2018 onwards
  • Appointing outreach and communications officers in the four subject areas covered by the programme
  • Setting up a challenge fund and inviting providers to bid for funding, enabling them to pilot innovative ways of recruiting to their programmes, or delivering these programmes, from spring 2018 onwards
  • Facilitating work shadowing opportunities in orthoptics Funding a fixed-term role to increase capacity for prosthetics and orthotics work placements, allowing more students to study the subject. 
  • Evaluating the project and sharing outcomes from autumn 2018.


Ed Hughes, Head of Health and Medicine at HEFCE, comments: "HEFCE is very pleased to be able to provide a range of support for higher education in these small and specialist disciplines, which will help maintain the pipeline of healthcare professionals in these areas to meet the future needs of students, healthcare providers and patients."

Steve Jamieson, Chief Executive of The College of Podiatry commented: "I’m delighted that we will be working closely with colleagues at the Office for Students and at our partner organisations to develop and deliver this innovative and significant programme. Raising awareness and building understanding of these vital health disciplines is critical if we are to continue to attract students and so ensure the future health skills mix required to meet the needs of patients.”

For more information contact the SIHED Programme Manager, Alex Davis .