Launch event of new Fylde coast health academy is a huge success

Speakers at the launch event including Marie Thompson (third from left) and Tracy Burrell (third from right)

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and St Mary’s Catholic College have launched a new health academy for A level students on the Fylde coast.

The new St Mary’s Health Academy had a warm reception from prospective students, teachers, medical staff and guests at the recent launch event at the college.

For a selection of pictures from the launch event on January 23, please see below.

Clinical teams from across the Trust had information stands demonstrating a huge variety of career opportunities and Marie Thompson, the Trust’s Director of Nursing and Quality, was one of many special guests to give a talk.

A level students who join St Mary’s Health Academy will have placements in nursing, medicine, allied health professions, biomedical sciences and radiography.

Tracy Burrell, Trust Lead for the Health Academy and Assistant Director of Nursing and Quality, said: “I think it’s really exciting and a fantastic opportunity for young adults to gain practical experience that will support their A level learning and help their future careers.

“It 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.

“St Mary’s Health Academy will give us the opportunity to work across the local community to support our young adults and give them access to potential NHS employment on their doorstep. 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.

“They will get targeted support for their chosen areas and undertake a care certificate qualification which is a recognised qualification in healthcare.

“The skills and attributes the students gain will also assist their university applications and the academy will also be able to identify students who may want follow a NHS career via other pathways such as apprenticeships.

“St Mary’s approached us to see if we’d be interested in setting up the academy as we had worked with the college before on our ‘Youth Health Leaders’ project. The Youth Health Leaders project empowers young people to give out positive health messages to their peers.”

Tracy said 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.

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.


For more information and to register an interest, go to or

George Branham and Gethin Hopkin, fourth year medical students from the Trust

The packed hall at St Mary’s Catholic College

Princes Puno, 16, from St Mary’s Catholic College has a go at a simulated operation

Nichola Nangle and Nicola Biggs from the Trust’s Tissue Viability Service

Research and Development staff with prospective students

Kerrie Chesters and Lesley Smith-Payne from the Trust’s occupational health team

Jeremy Mannino, Assistant Head of St Mary’s and Simon Eccles, Head Teacher of St Mary’s at the launch event

Prospective students with Mark Wrigley from the Trust’s Biomedical Sciences department

Darren Cadwell, kitchen manager, at Blackpool Victoria Hospital representing the Catering department

Daron Wilson and Philip Scarf from the Trust’s Medical engineering department



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