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News: NHS upskills its workforce

Please note: This news story may contain information that is no longer current or up to date.
Diane and Sally
Diane and Sally

With nursing staff shortages at an all-time high, it’s never been more crucial to get NHS healthcare workers fully-trained and qualified to help tackle the situation, which the experts are describing as at risk of becoming a “national emergency”.

Help­ing to address the skills gap, Not­ting­hamshire Health­care NHS Foun­da­tion Trust has joined forces with the Col­lege to upskill its work­force, enabling clin­i­cal staff to gain the Lev­el 2 maths and Eng­lish qual­i­fi­ca­tion — the min­i­mum require­ment for those wish­ing to progress to uni­ver­si­ty to study the Nurs­ing Prac­ti­tion­ers Degree.

The Lev­el 2 Func­tion­al Skills qual­i­fi­ca­tion in maths and Eng­lish is offered at Not­ting­ham Col­lege as an inten­sive three-day course, giv­ing employ­ees the flex­i­bil­i­ty and abil­i­ty to achieve the qual­i­fi­ca­tion quick­ly, along­side their often long and demand­ing work­ing hours.

Since 2014 more than 100 health­care work­ers have com­plet­ed the inten­sive course at the Col­lege and have gone on to university.

Heather Porter is the Learn­ing Advi­sor and Appren­tice Lead for Not­ting­hamshire Health­care NHS Foun­da­tion Trust, where she has worked for more than 15 years. She has been work­ing in part­ner­ship with the Col­lege to pro­vide train­ing to NHS clin­i­cal staff for the past five years and says they are huge­ly ben­e­fi­cial to employ­ees, and cru­cial if they want to progress in the med­ical field. She said:

I believe that many peo­ple have been let down in their school­ing and often haven’t achieved their full poten­tial. As an adult learn­er, the expe­ri­ence can be a far more pos­i­tive one, and can open new doors and lead to new opportunities.

For some, return­ing to edu­ca­tion can cause anx­i­ety, espe­cial­ly around maths, so I think, in addi­tion to the qual­i­fi­ca­tion itself, the course also helps to build con­fi­dence and self-esteem. Enrolling on the course is also a good indi­ca­tor of com­mit­ment and the effort that is required and expect­ed of them in their roles.

This is a growth area for us as and our part­ner NHS Trusts (Sher­wood For­est, City Care and NUH). We are pro­mot­ing the uptake of trainee nurse asso­ciates and nurs­ing appren­tice­ships, so the maths and Eng­lish is a must for all those con­sid­er­ing this career devel­op­ment opportunity.

I would high­ly rec­om­mend this course to oth­er organ­i­sa­tions or busi­ness­es as a great way to devel­op and upskill their staff. We’re so impressed with the course that we are now look­ing at dou­bling capac­i­ty from January. 

 — Heather Porter

Not­ting­ham Col­lege Pro­gramme Lead, Carl Ara, said: It’s been won­der­ful to see so many NHS staff tak­ing advan­tage of our inten­sive cours­es and pro­gress­ing to uni­ver­si­ty. It can be daunt­ing return­ing to a class­room envi­ron­ment, but our lec­tur­ers are approach­able and sup­port­ive, and our aim is to make the expe­ri­ence an enjoy­able one that helps them to build not only knowl­edge, but also self-confidence.

This free part-time course is flex­i­ble to meet the needs of the indi­vid­u­als and the busi­ness. Usu­al­ly it’s deliv­ered over three days which can take dif­fer­ent for­mats – over three con­sec­u­tive weeks run on a Fri­day, or three days back-to-back.

The pro­gramme has worked very well for NHS staff, and I see this as an avenue that could be opened up to oth­er busi­ness­es if their work­ers need it and are ready for it.”

For health­care work­ers Diane and Sal­ly, the Lev­el 2 maths qual­i­fi­ca­tion was essen­tial for them to progress to The Uni­ver­si­ty of Der­by next year to study the Nurs­ing Asso­ciates Degree.

Diane Oxbor­ough, 52, is a Com­mu­ni­ty Assis­tant Prac­ti­tion­er, from Wick­er­s­ley in Rother­ham, and has been work­ing in the care indus­try for over 20 years. She said: 

At the moment I’m lim­it­ed in the care I can deliv­er, which means that my patients often have to see dif­fer­ent prac­ti­tion­ers. I want to become the full pack­age so that I am able to give the full care that my patients deserve.

Access­ing this three-day course meant that I could study along­side my job. It was cru­cial to com­plete the qual­i­fi­ca­tion quick­ly in order for me to meet the uni­ver­si­ty dead­line, so the inten­sive course was per­fect for me.

Ini­tial­ly I was a lit­tle bit anx­ious about doing the course, but it was reas­sur­ing being sur­round­ed by peo­ple of all dif­fer­ent ages and back­grounds, who all had the same goal as me.

The sup­port of my teacher Paul was immense; I couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter expe­ri­ence. He went above and beyond to sup­port me when I need­ed it, even after the les­son I knew I could con­tact him if I need­ed any advice or help with my revi­sion. When I received the news that I’d passed, it was a huge relief! This qual­i­fi­ca­tion will enable me to take the next step, so I couldn’t be happier.”

For fel­low NHS work­er and class­mate Sal­ly Deakin, 40, from Wood­beck, the time was right to build a career for her­self after being busy rais­ing her chil­dren for the past 14 years. Sal­ly has been work­ing in high secure ser­vices at Ramp­ton Hos­pi­tal for the last year; she want­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to devel­op in the field but need­ed Lev­el 2 Maths to do it.

Often work­ing 14-hour days and 10-hour night shifts, deter­mined Sal­ly would use her break times and week­ends as valu­able revi­sion time. She said: My job requires me to work long hours, and when I’m at home it’s impor­tant for me to spend qual­i­ty time with my fam­i­ly, so any spare five min­utes I could find, I would use to revise.

I’m real­ly pas­sion­ate about what I do and I want to make a real career of it, so I’m pre­pared to put in the extra effort to get me there. I know that uni­ver­si­ty will be chal­leng­ing, but tak­ing this first step back into the class­room has been a great start and has giv­en me a real con­fi­dence boost. 

Sally Deakin

I would say to any­one who, like me, may have left school with few qual­i­fi­ca­tions, and look­ing to improve their maths, to give this part-time course a go, because it’s flex­i­ble and eas­es you back into edu­ca­tion gen­tly. For me, it has been a vital step­ping stone to get me to uni­ver­si­ty and on the right path to becom­ing a ful­ly-qual­i­fied nurse. 

 — Sal­ly Deakin

Not­ting­ham Col­lege Func­tion­al Skills Tutor, Paul Huskisson, taught both Diane and Sal­ly. He adds: The lev­el of ded­i­ca­tion, moti­va­tion and pas­sion from learn­ers walk­ing through the door has been overwhelming.

Achiev­ing the Lev­el 2 qual­i­fi­ca­tion begins to unlock oppor­tu­ni­ties, includ­ing pro­mo­tion and uni­ver­si­ty cours­es. It is extreme­ly reward­ing and sat­is­fy­ing for me to see learn­ers make sig­nif­i­cant changes in their lives, becom­ing aspir­ing role-mod­els with­in their communities.”

Published on:
  • 14th December 2018 (4:54 PM)
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