18th April 2023
South Devon College has recently signed an agreement with Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, becoming the Trust’s preferred training provider.
The new partnership will provide meaningful industry placements for hundreds of health and social care students in the years to come.
Work placements will form an integral part of the College’s T Level cohort starting in September, which includes a 45 day industry placement as part of the two year course.
The partnership also provides placement opportunities for higher education and degree students studying on the College’s Higher Technical Qualifications – FdSc Assistant Practitioner, FdSc Nursing Associate and FdSc Hearing Aid Audiology. The latter approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and Health and Care Professions Council.
Maria Woodger, Assistant Principal at South Devon College explained the significance of this new stage in the College’s partnership with the NHS;
“South Devon College has a long history of working successfully with the NHS Trust. Signing this agreement is an exciting step for the College, the Trust and the local community, as it represents an opportunity for our young people to start meaningful careers with this major employer at a young age, and then to develop their skills throughout adulthood in an organisation that shares our absolute commitment to lifelong learning and opportunities for career progression right here in South Devon.”
Currently there are 80 students taking the Level 2 and Level 3 Technical Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care on industry placements. These are across a variety of healthcare settings, including the hospital, residential care homes, nursing homes and day care centres.
18 year old Jasmine Johns, who is studying Level 3 Health and Social Care, has recently completed her first industry placement at Torbay Hospital.
“The first week was different than I expected as I’d never been in a hospital ward before. I was somewhat prepared but it was a lot more full on than you’d expect with a lot of things happening,” said Jasmine, who wants to be a nurse.
“In the classroom you learn about it, write it down, but when you’re doing it and on real people it’s very different.”
Each student has a healthcare support role on a different ward within the hospital, helping patients with their meals, getting them dressed, helping with their mobility and following care plans.
“Prior to going up on the wards, I did a session with them in manual handling so that they could be familiarised with the equipment that we use and slide sheets, different stand aids, different hoists that they might be supporting patients mobility with,” explained Amanda Nagy from Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.
“We want the experience to be meaningful to them in an educational sense, but also in a personal sense as well. The placement is important because what they are learning in the classroom they can apply in practice.”
Each student has their own experienced mentor who is always in sight of them on the ward so they are never left on their own.
18 year old Level 3 Health and Social Care student Abigail Cyster, who wants to be a physiotherapist, said the best bit is when everything is going well and a patient has made some progress.
“You learn a lot being in the hospital,” she explained. “There are certain situations you never expect and they happen in the moment and you can learn from them.”
It’s hoped this new partnership between South Devon College and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust will improve young people’s employability prospects.
Jasmine and Abigail both agree that doing the placement has been really useful.
“We get to see what we’ve learnt in the textbooks and put things into practice.”
Reflecting on the bigger picture, Amanda Nagy commented; “Placements are a great opportunity in terms of employability, but also for the students’ future progression. We always encourage our staff to pursue education for career development.
“The more exposure we can give students to the diversity of roles within the hospital setting, the more it’s going to open their eyes to the opportunities that are available locally and if we can back that up with a range of underpinning qualifications like the higher nursing associate and assistant practitioner then the sky’s the limit.”