Student nurse at medicine trolley

The National Health Service and the caring professions have rightly been heavily featured in the media over the last two years. Their work on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 has been widely praised and lauded. Shrewsbury Colleges Group is launching an exciting new pathway which will enable school leavers to study a two-year Extended Diploma in Health & Social Care on a Nursing Pathway.

This brand-new course gives students access to valuable work placements within the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Integrated Care System (ICS), which includes Shropshire’s three main NHS Trusts: Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt NHS Foundation Trust, and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

Placement opportunities will also be available in the Shropshire based mental health services as part of the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, as well as our two main hospices, Severn Hospice and Hope House, our Primary Care partners (GP practices) and our social care community partners. 

All our partners provide excellent placement experiences. Health Education England recently reviewed Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and reported that: "Students reported a positive experience working in the Trust, stating that they would recommend the Trust as a place to train and receive care. Students felt welcomed, well supported, and integrated into their teams".

The college has partnered with the University of Chester to guarantee the Nursing Pathway students a place to study Adult Nursing at the University Centre Shrewsbury site. This will then enable them to progress into employment within the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Integrated Care System settings.

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Professor Victoria Ridgway - Associate Dean for Education and Student Engagement at the University of Chester; Carol Bagnall – ‘Focus on Nursing Project’ Manager, HCSW Academy, Integrated Care System; Sarah Davies - Health & Social Care Lead at SCG; Jackie Swan - Curriculum Director at SCG.

Alison Trumper, ICS Transformation Lead for Nursing, said: "Our ICS partners have much to offer to support our next generation of nurses on this new and exciting Nursing Pathway. The ICS has a dedicated lead who will work with Clinical Placement Facilitators across our ICS partners and with Shrewsbury Colleges Group to support students on the Extended Diploma course to receive the best experience possible during placements in our health and social care settings."

Sarah Davies, Course Leader for the Health & Social Care courses at the college, said: "We’re delighted to be working with the University of Chester and the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Integrated Care System to help meet the local need for adult nurses. The vision is for young people to have the opportunity to study, train and live locally and to have a guaranteed professional qualification with employment on completion. Shropshire offers a wide variety of qualified nursing positions, including, for example, within prison health, cardiology, orthopaedic, community (district) nursing, and operating theatre nurses. This new venture will help young people who live locally to train locally and then work locally upon qualification as a nurse. We want our young people to be supported through all aspects of their training and be confident to work as an adult nurse in the local area."

Professor Victoria Ridgway, Associate Dean for Education and Student Engagement from the University of Chester’s Faculty of Health and Social Care, said: "This course is perfect for those students who are looking to get into nursing locally. Students will also have the opportunity to visit the University Centre Shrewsbury for clinical skill sessions during their time on the nursing pathway, which will support their transition into Higher Education study."

She continued: "The benefit of a Shropshire based graduate nursing degree programme is that it makes this very accessible to people who live in Shropshire, and with the added benefit of the NHS training grant whilst studying, this can take away some of the financial pressures people may face if having to move away from home to undertake a nursing programme. Many students also earn as they learn by joining local NHS Trust temporary staffing registers, working as a healthcare support workers alongside their student nurse training. During the programme, students will work alongside nurses whilst on clinical learning placement in health care settings such as the NHS, where they will be able to develop the skills required to be a registrant. This also helps them identify preferences for where to work on qualification in Shropshire."

James Staniforth, Principal of Shrewsbury Colleges Group, concluded: "We’re delighted to be working with the key partners within the caring professions in the local area to provide excellent employment opportunities in this hugely important sector. The work placement opportunities alongside the classroom-based learning means that students completing this course will be well placed to join one of the many crucial strands of health and social care in our local communities."

Applications for this course are now open for those who wish to begin studying in September 2022. It is open to 16–19-year-olds who meet the entry requirements listed on our website. Full details of the course are available here.

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