New College Swindon and the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust came together this week to launch an innovative new programme to offer students a new route into careers in healthcare and ensure that the NHS locally have a strong pipeline of talent ready to join the service.
This week the Pathway to the Future programme was launched, starting with a pilot group of 12 students. The programme runs alongside the Health and Social Care course and is aimed towards students who are young carers, provide care for children, or come from areas of deprivation, and equips them with vital employment skills for leading a successful career in the future.
Throughout the academic year, students participating in this programme will attend sessions hosted by Great Western Hospitals, exploring various topics including work readiness, mental health awareness, cultural sensitivity, and career planning, among others.
As they progress, students will earn certificates of achievement as recognition of their growth and dedication. They will also have the opportunity to progress onto an NCS/Great Western Hospitals apprenticeship programme. The Pathway programme runs alongside the students Health and Social Care course and is available to students who are either young carers, looked after children or who live in areas of Swindon which experience deprivation. Students will spend time on site at Great Western Hospitals, learning key skills of work readiness, mental health awareness and planning their future destinations. Sarah King, Curriculum Manager at the college said, ‘This is an exciting opportunity that we hope widens participation and allows the students to develop their passion and commitment to working in the HSC sector. We hope this programme provides opportunities for more students for future years.’
Alexia Leakey, Head of Learning and Development at Great Western Hospitals said, ‘There are a huge range of careers in the NHS and it’s exciting for us to work with New College Swindon on this programme. Two Swindon anchor institutions have come together to support the community, take students on a valuable journey and give them a plan for their future. We want to ensure students to believe that if they want something enough and work hard, that they can achieve whoever they are’.
Sophie Drinkwater, one the students on the programme said, ‘I’m a carer for my mother and my brother is a doctor, so I’m really inspired to work in a hospital and hopefully become a nurse. Last year the Great Western Hospitals looked after me following an operation and it felt like a family there, with everyone happy and inspired to be there’.
The programme runs throughout this academic year, with a celebration planned for July 2024, and it is hoped that it will allow students to also be ready for apprenticeships in the hospital.
Anna Field, one of the Health and Social Care lecturers at the college said, ‘This is a brilliant opportunity for our students, particularly those who have potentially faced adversity to work with such a large, important employer.’
For more information on Health and Social Care courses at the college, please visit the New College Website: https://www.newcollege.ac.uk/courses/health-and-social-care/
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