The first students have begun applying for places on a range of new courses designed to boost skills across the region’s health and social care sector.
Seven new courses are being launched by the Marches Education Partnership, a £2.7 million project involving Telford College, Shrewsbury Colleges Group, Herefordshire, Ludlow and North Shropshire College, and SBC Training.
Backed by Strategic Development Fund cash, the education and training organisations are working together to ease pressure on the NHS by helping to recruit and retain staff.
It is hoped that the partners will be able to recruit more than 800 students by the end of this year.
The curriculum includes courses in occupational English and maths to upskill staff, a pre-employment health and social care programme, plus bespoke packages to boost IT and digital competence.
There is also a social care pre-employment programme giving candidates the chance to gain knowledge they will need for their Care Certificate.
The partnership team says: “We have made a very promising start, with dozens of students applying to be among the first cohort. We are particularly pleased to see so many taking an interest in the leadership and management programme.
“Everyone knows that the NHS and adult social care is under significant pressure right now – we believe this partnership project could make a real difference when it is most needed.
“We want to be ambitious and test out new ways of working, taking the opportunity to invest in enhanced training which is designed to support NHS teams who are under considerable strain.
“We also want to take advantage of technology-led learning, including virtual and augmented reality to fast-track more staff into the sector, and upskill others.”
A mobile training unit will be launched later this year, touring the Marches area to deliver technology-led and practical training.
It will be equipped with virtual reality headsets, simulated at-work training facilities, an immersive cave, and other training software which is being developed specifically for the partnership.
More details about the Marches Education Partnership, and its range of courses, can be found at www.marches-education.co.uk, or by emailing email@example.com.