The SIHED programme (Strategic Interventions in Health Education Disciplines), is a three-year, £3 million programme funded by the Office for Students and managed by the College of Podiatry on behalf of programme partners the Society of Radiographers, the British and Irish Orthoptic Society and the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists.

Launched in March 2018, the 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, and develop a better understanding of the mature student market for nursing, midwifery and allied health.

The four Allied Health Professions (AHPs) within the initial scope of the programme are:

  • Podiatry
  • Orthoptics
  • Prosthetics and Orthotics
  • Therapeutic Radiography

The programme consists of several parts:

  • A marketing campaign, I See The Difference, which promotes the AHPs through digital marketing and outreach work with schools and careers events. Since 2019 the marketing campaign’s initial focus on the four smaller AHPs has broadened to include all the AHPs. During 2020 most of the outreach work has moved online through a series of webinars. Find out more at
  • A Challenge Fund which has supported 16 Higher Education Institutions to develop new approaches to recruitment and retention of students on allied health professional courses
  • Commissioned research on the mature student market
  • 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
  • Ongoing evaluation to enable sharing of lessons learned from the programme and enhance future awareness and recruitment work (this work is managed directly by the Office for Students)

The programme’s funding will end in March 2021, though the I See the Difference website and brand will continue.

For more information, visit the Office for Students website.