University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) joins the celebration of TLevel qualifications this week, having recently welcomed 19 local young people onto its wards for the first year of their industry placement.
Students from Furness College in Barrow, and Kendal College spent two weeks learning alongside experienced ward staff as part of their T Level qualification: 'Supporting the Adult Nursing Team'. The students spent this first placement shadowing ward staff as they delivered care for patients.
In the next academic year, the students will return for a further six week placement.
T Levels are two-year, technical qualifications designed to give students the skills that industry needs. They bring classroom teaching and an extended industry placement together, as well as English, maths and digital skills. The curriculum is designed by employers, so that young people are 'employment ready' when they complete their course. Students can use the qualification as an entry route to an apprenticeship in their chosen profession.
In the 2022/2023 academic year, up to 50 young people will join UHMBT for their industry placement during their two-year study period.
Iain Hook, Careers and Engagement Team Lead, UHMBT is leading the celebrations and said: "T levels are providing students with an interest in Health and Social Care an opportunity to gain extensive experience in the workplace, whilst undertaking a rigorous academic qualification.
"As a Trust, we very much view these students as part of our immediate future workforce and would hope that upon completion of their two-year course, start employment with us. This could be an entry level substantive post, being placed on the bank for CSW shifts, or commencing an Apprenticeship in any of the healthcare fields.
"It is vital that young people from our footprint understand that there are opportunities within their immediate geographical area and that we retain the marvellous talent pool available to us. This is particularly pertinent in the Furness area, where many young people seek to move away, as their perception is that opportunities aren't available locally.
"These first two cohorts of T Level students have been a great success overall but we are also aware of the learning and development we have to take on board as a Trust. The students, the colleges and the Trust can all take away many positives from the past few weeks but we must not overlook the improvements that can be made to ensure all students receive a fulfilling and valuable placement experience."
Feedback from the students who have been spending time learning with the Trust includes:
"It's honestly amazing, I'm loving every second of it" Jess, Furness College, placed at Croslands, FGH
"It's been good, really good. Everyone's been really nice... everyone's took us under their wing." Libby, Kendal College, placed in Ward 4, RLI
"So I came in and the staff were really nice. They immediately put me on a Ward with support and I got stuck in with a lot straight away." Aleasha, Kendal College, placed in Ward 33, RLI
"It's really good, you learn a lot on the Wards, especially person-centred care... It's been brilliant the support." Ferne, Furness College, placed in Ward 5, FGH
Emily Henry-Farnham, Deputy Associate Director of Nursing, UHMBT, said: "We have had really positive feedback about the T level students and I have enjoyed spotting the 'orange uniform' and welcoming the students into our teams. Now we have completed the first wave, we can look at expanding to other wards, learning from the first wave in a group session and taking this good practice forward."
During their second academic year, the students will spend three weeks working with ward staff at UHMBT and a further three weeks working with Allied Health Professionals who deliver care in different settings such as physiotherapists, dietitians, occupational therapists, paramedics or radiographers. In total, the young people must complete 315 hours with an employer to achieve their T Level.
The T Level qualifications will be developed and expanded in coming years, with employers, higher education and the students themselves contributing to improvements and learning opportunities. On completion of their T Level, students taking part in the placement will be expected to take up a paid apprenticeship role with the Trust.