College’s work with NHS to raise awareness of essential ‘behind the scenes’ roles – FE News

A pilot course aimed at helping people find work and fill skills gaps in the health and social care sector has been launched at Stockton Riverside College.

Highlighting the diversity of jobs that exist in hospital settings, the college has partnered with North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to deliver the unique two-week programme.

With more than 30 people, aged 19 to 63, signing up to learn new skills, and more than double that number applying, the college’s Skills Ambassador for Health and Social Services, Neil Vickery, has said: “It just shows the interest that exists in people wanting to work for the NHS, particularly in the wake of the pandemic and the applause for health and care workers.

“But labor shortages arise because people often don’t realize the diversity of jobs that exist in the NHS, failing to see beyond frontline medical staff.”

He added: “Hospitals can be like their own little communities, with people working in every job you can think of, from catering staff to gardeners. All have an essential role to play.

The 10-day bespoke course has been created by the college in conjunction with the NHS Trust, with a particular focus on behind-the-scenes roles including facilities assistants, hospital porters and sterile wards.

As well as teaching key employability skills for the health and social care sector, it offered the opportunity to obtain certificates in areas such as food hygiene and first aid.

The pilot project was part of the college’s Skills for Health Commitment – a commitment between the colleges that make up the Education Training Collective (Etc.), the Hartlepool College of Further Education and the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to work collaboratively to address skills shortages, put people to work, and develop and reskill existing staff in the sector.

Hoping to start a career in care, Dean Oakshott was part of the pilot cohort of the course. The 32-year-old from Stockton said: “Having been a support worker for my mum for the past 10 years, officially I’ve never had a job before which can make it quite difficult when it’s about finding work.”

Acknowledging the transferable skills he has developed over the years, he explained: “This course offered insight into the NHS and felt like a real step in the right direction.”

Amy Hodgson, 23, also from Stockton, signed up after finding herself out of work. Having worked in a call center before, she said, “For me, it was a chance to learn new skills and see the jobs available.”

Nervous about the hospital setting, she explained that it was a chance to face her fears head-on and expand the job opportunities available to her.

Aged 59, and with a career in hospitality, administration, cleaning and retail, Susan Smitheringale, from Norton, said: “Any additional qualifications or experience you can gain can only be a good thing. It shows employers that you are ready to learn!

Levi Buckley, COO of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There are few careers as rewarding as healthcare. To be part of the health and social care sector in any capacity is to play a positive role in people’s lives. We work hard but the rewards are huge.

“Our community service is highly respected and our camaraderie and mutual support are recognized. A career in healthcare is a calling and that’s why we’re proud to be part of the Skills Pledge with our partners Education Training Collective and Hartlepool College of Further Education.

Recommend0 recommendationsPosted in Work and direction