From education to employment

Skills Concerns in NHS Lead to Southwark College’s Innovative Learning Initiative

Southwark College have created an innovative learning resource for specialist training in the National Health Service (NHS) through the release of their interactive CD, Learning Breakthrough.

The CD is designed to improve the skills and training for basic radiation physics, the physiology of the breast and ergonomics awareness and is intended to benefit staff working with mammography equipment. This cooperative venture has been hailed by many as a prime example of sharing expertise to provide the best possible resources.

Looking Back on Cooperation

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) London Central was involved from the very beginning. In March 2003, they started the process of bringing the acute Trusts together with further and higher education. This cooperative was intended to investigate the potential development of a mammography unit for employees training for NVQ level 3 diagnostic and therapeutic, and for level 4 Foundation degree students.

By September 2004 work on the M2 unit, which was being undertaken by Southwark College and London South Bank University, was enabling Foundation Degree students to be accredited through the course for a breast -screening unit. In February 2005 Southwark College started to work with Kings College Hospital and the National Breast Screening Training Centre to generate more learning materials designed to underpin the knowledge required for the official occupational standards.

The Launch

The launch was attended by representatives from hospitals, Strategic Health Authorities, BUPA and colleges from across London gathering to experience the benefits of learning online for this critical health monitoring service. The CD has been evaluated by learners and practitioners and the feedback has been very positive. The project is not resting on its laurels however; the LSC London Central is funding a second phase of this work to enable the materials to be continued so that a substantial proportion of technical information can be developed for learners.

Joyce Roberts, Head of Strategic Brokerage for the LSC London Central, expressed her pleasure at the development, saying: “This is a good example of partnership between colleges and employers responding to a specific skills gap. This innovative approach to learning will remove the barriers for many learners faced with acquiring very high levels of technical expertise.

“I am sure that this will make a real impact on the sector and enable more people to achieve their NVQ, she continued. Her positive words were echoed by Chris Avis, the Director of Development at Southwark College, who said: “Staff at Southwark College have found the process of working with Kings College Hospital on such important developments intellectually stimulating and very satisfying.”

Jethro Marsh

Related Articles