Professionals working in the health and social care sector volunteered their time to work with students at Bath College, passing on knowledge and expertise during a busy and interactive employability day.
The day marked the launch of the college’s Care Academy, designed to link health and social care students with a wide range of employers working in the South West.
Last year, Bath College was awarded £40,000 worth of government funding to kick-start the Care Academy and recruit an academy coordinator.
As a result, the college has been working with its Care Academy partners to strengthen training, increase work experience opportunities, and help students find employment within the health and social care sector.
Students studying at the college had the chance to meet professionals working in a variety of health and social care roles over the course of the day.
Third year student Lauren Pearl, 17, said: “I’ve been learning about mental health issues and talking about how you can help people who have an addiction.
“This is my final year at college and it has definitely helped me to speak to these health professionals, who have given me a lot of useful information.”
Dawn Corse, an occupational therapist with Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, led a workshop demonstrating the best way to communicate with people with dementia.
Media make-up and drama students were involved in the workshop, preparing a role-play about a dementia patient and her carer.
Throughout the day, students met representatives from Sirona care & health, Creativity Works, BANES Youth Connect & Health, Dorothy House, Bath Mind, Action on Addiction, healthcare company Dimensions and the Red Cross.
They also learnt how to use a hoist and move patients with limited mobility during a workshop led by Les Taylor and Rachael Sheppard, from Way Ahead Care.
Claire Hurford, from Way Ahead Care, said: “We’ve been working with the Care Academy from the beginning. If we start working with these students now, they will come to us with more experience and be work-ready.
“It’s about showing students what career routes they can take and how they can progress. I started as a community care and support worker, and now I’m working as a care manager.
“We know there’s a huge deficit for social care staff and, as people are living longer, we need more staff working with people to help them stay in their homes.”
Lilly Webb, widening participation officer at Bath RUH, was part of a team showing students how to resuscitate someone using CPR.
She said: “For us it’s great to have an opportunity to spend time with Bath College students to help them understand what a career in health looks like and to help them gain relevant skills and knowledge.
“Last year we ran a pilot programme, with Bath College students coming into the RUH. This was really successful and we hope to be able to welcome some more students this year.”
Sally Wilson, Care Academy Coordinator, said: “There has been a real buzz in the Care Academy today, with students sharing their experiences with staff and their peers. The variety of workshops on offer was fantastic and gave them a real insight into the broad range of careers and environments they could work in within the sector. We are very grateful to all network partners who have facilitated exciting sessions today.”
Next week, Bath College will launch an eight-week pilot course for students and care home workers in partnership with Creativity Works.
The course, taught on Tuesday evenings, will explore the benefit of using the arts in care homes, including drama, visual art, dance and poetry.
Spaces are still available for the course, which starts on January 31 and takes place in the evenings between 6pm and 8pm.
Visit http://www.creativityworks.org.uk/ or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org