Flying start for Fylde coast Health Academy

AN innovative new scheme to offer young adults the chance to gain first-hand experience of working in the NHS has got off to a flying start.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has joined forces with St Mary’s Catholic College to launch a new Health Academy which will offer Fylde coast A level students an incredible opportunity to pursue a career in healthcare.

The students in the academy are now a common feature on wards at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and the early feedback has been excellent from hospital staff and students alike.

Tracy Crumblehulme, Trust Lead for the Health Academy and Assistant Director of Nursing and Quality, said: “This is the first scheme of its type in the country and we are really proud of it.

“It is great to see it up and running and fantastic to see the group now working across the Trust in their uniforms.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for young adults to gain practical experience that will support their A level learning and help their future careers and the feedback we have had from everyone so far has been fantastic.

Health Academy students Milly Southern and Jordan Lawrence

“The Academy gives the students a chance to see what they can do in the health service, develop personal skills and hopefully reaffirm their chosen career pathway in the NHS.

“Hopefully, it will also give the students an allegiance to our Trust in their future careers and give them exposure to many different avenues within the NHS.”

The students will do their A level study at St Mary’s Sixth Form College and one day a week during term time they will be on ‘day placement’ within the Trust.

They will undertake a care certificate qualification which is a recognised qualification in healthcare and the skills and attributes they gain will also assist university applications or help identify those students who may want follow a NHS career via other pathways such as apprenticeships.

In their second year with the academy some of the students may also have the opportunity to apply for health care work with the Trust.

One of the youngsters on the course, Jordan Lawrence, said: “In 2014 my mum had a heart attack, a cardiac arrest and an epileptic fit all at the same time.

“I was 14 at the time and I had to give her CPR until the ambulance came for more than six minutes and I’m glad to say she survived. She was in hospital for a long time and that episode spared my interest in a medical career.

“While she was in hospital I was constantly looking at her charts and wanted to know what was happening to her.

“She’s better now and doing better than expected and as soon as this course came up I wanted to do it.’’

Talking about the course he said: “This has been the best choice I have made without a doubt.

“It’s been really eye opening to see everything that goes on.

“I have learned so much especially when I was on a placement with the physio teams. That was very hands on and I got to do so much with the patients.’’

Molly Southern, 16, said: “The course is great. I’ve grown in confidence since starting it and learned a lot.

“Originally I was thinking about a career in pathology but now I’m looking at nursing and medicine too. I’ve been on a lot of different wards and worked with the Extensive Care team. Everyone has been really helpful and given me a lot of advice and I’ve enjoyed it so far.”

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