Youth unemployment is a worldwide phenomenon and yet there is a field wide open for tomorrow’s young workforce: healthcare and related science.

Why are high school seniors not queuing up to find out about careers in nursing, physiotherapy and medical sciences? A recent survey among 604 high school students conducted for the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, USA, found that 45 per cent of 13 to 18-year-olds are not even considering pursuing such careers.

With the ageing of populations, healthcare is one of the fastest growing employment sectors, bringing 3.2 million new jobs in the US between 2008 and 2018.

Many students who responded negatively said they did not know enough about the subjects; 21 per cent felt that were not good at healthcare and science subjects in school; 19 per cent did not feel ready to study these subjects at college level; and 12 per cent felt getting a healthcare degree would be too difficult.

But how difficult would it be to become proficient as a home health aide, a medical assistant or a physiotherapist — the occupations projected to grow the fastest?

I wonder if the lack of interest has anything to do with a certain lack of glamour about these jobs. I read a while back that young people in the UK were lining up to study forensic science because there were so many Crime Scene-type programmes on television. How many TV shows are about looking after elderly baby boomers?

More questions. Why is the nursing workforce increasingly made up of new immigrants? Are the rest of us, as the Brits say, “too posh to wash”

Again, have we made the qualifications for these service jobs too academic, deterring people who would otherwise do them well?

Just asking.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet