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Cadet programme in good health as college-NHS partnership celebrates first anniversary

AN ACADEMIC collaboration between a leading college and the NHS is in good health and growing in stature after a successful first year.

The Healthcare Cadets programme launched by Coleg Cambria and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is attracting interest from potential learners across north east Wales following its launch last September.

Based at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, members of the debut cohort – all from the college’s Yale site – are now on placement in their second year having gained experience on different surgical and medical wards.

Cadets were able to choose which specific discipline they wanted to pursue – including A&E, gynaecology, and on Children’s wards – and from this month (Jan) will be able to support staff in the critical care and cancer units.

With up to 40 students across the two years, lead tutor Stefanie Matthews said the course is becoming popular with both male and female candidates keen to pursue a career in the health sector.

“We have built on the foundations laid over the last 15 months, so the programme has improved and covers a wider range of areas,” she said.

“Learners on the first year have the benefit of being able to gain feedback and advice from those on the second year, who can reassure and mentor them about what to expect given the nature of working in a hospital, the environment and pressure that comes with that.

“We will continue to grow the programme so both the hospital and the Cadets reap the rewards, both now and long-term, as many of them will go on to work for the NHS and in other healthcare roles in the future.”

Blending time in the classroom with one day a week on different wards, the learners are studying for a WJEC Level 3 Health and Social Care in Principles and Practice, WJEC Medical Science, and the Health and Social Care City and Guilds Level 2 Core Qualification.

Cambria also has a range of other courses covering health and social care.

Vicky Edwards, the college’s Vice Principal of Technical Studies, is thrilled with how the pilot initiative has progressed and is proud of how Cambria is helping to train the next generation of nurses and medical staff at a critical time for the NHS post-pandemic.

She said plans are in the pipeline for a Social Care Cadets process and added: “We’ve worked hard together to create a programme that is exactly what the hospital and our learners need, so we are absolutely delighted with how well it’s gone so far.

“Our focus is on providing students with the skills to be able to access the sector and be valuable to that sector, which this programme is delivering on.”

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