A new skills initiative has proven just the medicine for college students looking to improve their health and care experience.
For the first time, learners at South Tyneside College have been invited to do hands-on work experience at the borough’s district hospital.
Georgia Mullen, 20, and Sophie Mannix, 18, both from South Shields, and Connor Watkins, 19, from Jarrow, worked across wards to gain a broad understanding of daily department life.
Learners on the CACHE Technical L3 extended diploma in health and social care spent one day a week for three months visiting the A&E, emergency care and surgical departments.
Their course is an academic programme which prepares them for accessing higher education and degrees such as adult and child nursing, social work, paramedic and psychology.
The placement was part of a strategic partnership with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, to give students an opportunity to gain vocational work-based experience.
Claire Robinson, course co-ordinator and lecturer in the college’s Department for Commercial Services, and work based assessor Vicki Canham, recognised its potential benefit.
Claire said: “Being at the hospital proved excellent experience for them, and will help with their progression into careers in health and care.
“The students shadowed hospital staff and assisted them with minor tasks, which led to them receiving excellent feedback from the staff they worked with.
“Vikki and I are proud of the students’ commitment to their placements, and we are looking forward to building our relationship with the hospital further.
“The initiative has been very rewarding and a great success, and we very much hope to expand on it through more placements.”
Kath Griffin, director of human resources and organisational development for South Tyneside and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trusts, welcomed the placement.
“Through the South Tyneside and Sunderland Healthcare Group, our Trusts are working closely with a variety of organisations to encourage local people to develop careers in healthcare.
“Of course, it is essential for the future that young people are encouraged to consider careers with the NHS.
“As one of our main ambitions is to be the employer of choice in the North East of England, we are particularly keen for them to join us.”
South Tyneside and Sunderland Healthcare Group collaborated with The University of Sunderland to mark the completion of the vocational programme.
Hosted by The University of Sunderland, it consisted of a tour of facilities and participation in simulation activities with nursing and paramedic teaching staff. Students were then presented with certificates by Louise Burn, deputy director of nursing and patient experience at the City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust.
They were also given special recognition for 100% attendance, partially undertaken during February’s severe winter weather.
The extended diploma in health and social care is a one-year full-time, practical, work-related course.
It covers areas including supporting individuals with their physical and emotional care, daily living needs and health care procedures.
It is aimed at people looking to access higher education or who want to work with adults in health and social care environments.
Progression opportunities include university, other higher education such as an HNC, or into employment.
Career options include nursing, midwifery, medical science and investigations, paramedic, social work, residential care management, housing or the Probation Service.
Usual employment sectors include social services, health centres, registered care homes or the NHS.