From education to employment

T-Level students complete expert sessions at MDX to progress towards potential career in healthcare

T Level event_students with certificates

Students awarded certificates after final day of activities led by midwifery academics

Sixteen pupils aged 16 and 17 have been congratulated for completing four days of nursing and midwifery training sessions at Middlesex University on their journey to a potential career in healthcare.

The students, who are in Year 12 at Saracens High School in Edgware, North London, were the first cohort to take part in sessions provided by Middlesex University that count towards an NCFE T Level in Health (Midwifery) qualification.

T Levels are a two-year course for 16-19 years olds that combine classroom study with 35 ‘Insight Hours’ over four days at a university followed by an industry placement. During the Insight Hours, students take part in activities to give them an insight into their future industry, which aids employment retention as well as recruitment.

Saracens High School introduced a sixth form last year and the school now runs T Levels in healthcare and digital skills as well as A Levels. The school has a diverse student population, with nearly 50% of pupils eligible for free school meals.

Last week’s ceremony celebrated the achievements of the students, who were presented with a certificate for completing their Insight Hours, as well as the partnership between Middlesex University, Saracens High School and Barnet Education and Learning Service who worked together to create the programme.

Jan Williams, Pro Chancellor and former Dean of the School of Health and Education at Middlesex University, said:

“This is a further example of how Middlesex University gets involved in something new and exciting, is committed to education for healthcare, and consistently works with the local community to improve opportunities for young people.

“It is fantastic to see the students’ enthusiasm and how engaged they are. They are clearly being very well supported with different experiences to develop their future careers.”

Professor Chris Caldwell, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS North Central London Integrated Care Board and Middlesex University Visiting Professor, spoke at the ceremony about her nursing career and long connection to the University, as well as the role of T Levels in helping to train the NHS workforce of the future. 

She said: “I am proud of what MDX stands for and how it is working to support and contribute to our local health and care system and community. T Levels are an example of this and are so important because they provide an insight for students into what it is really like to work in the NHS, social care and beyond.

“I’m delighted to be here and proud of these students for trying something new and different. Whatever you choose to do next, there are so many career options in health and care. This is a fantastic place to start.”

On collecting her certificate, Aisha Belkacem, aged 17, said: “I was interested in working in healthcare and T Levels seemed to offer a direct pathway into those roles. I particularly enjoyed the practical learning outside the classroom, and I am looking forward to my placement.”

Fellow student Esther Israel, aged 17, said: “Doing all the practical sessions at Middlesex  University brought everything I learned in the classroom to life so that it all made sense. I hope to go to university with this qualification and I’d like to go into children’s nursing.”

Dr Phil Barter, Deputy Dean (Education) in the University’s Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, said the Insight Hours programme was part of the University’s wider agenda to work with local partners to build educational corridors to provide opportunities for all and support the development of a future local workforce. “It was great to see the students enthused and empowered which is a credit to the way the MDX midwifery team have supported them through the programme,” he said.

While the T Level focuses on midwifery, students also learn generic healthcare skills and some of the students expressed an interest in careers in nursing, pharmacy and dentistry as well as midwifery. The students learned about subjects such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the importance of hygiene in medical settings, and knowledge of the birthing process during their Insight Hours at Middlesex University’s West Stand at the StoneX Stadium, which has hi-tech virtual reality mannequins which can simulate birthing and other healthcare situations.

Jo Killingley, Middlesex University Director of Programmes and Lead Midwife for Education who led the sessions, said the students showed real commitment to working in healthcare.

“The connection that Middlesex University has made with Saracens High School is a positive example of how universities can support developing the NHS workforce of the future. We need not only to build our healthcare workforce but also to retain it.

“Undergoing Insight Hours somewhere like our simulation centre helps students bridge the gap from what they learn in the classroom to what goes on in clinical practice. It means that when they go on their placement, it is not completely new or scary and they have a good foundation of what to expect.”

Damale Bogle-Rookwood, Head of Social Science and T Level Health at Saracens High School, also highlighted the benefit of the Insight Hours. “Learning in a higher education institution with hands-on training from experienced professionals prepares the students for their placements in industry or healthcare. It has been amazing to see how our pupils have developed in the past year and we are all very proud of them.”

Julie Hyde, Director of External and Regulatory Affairs at NCFE, which awards T Levels, said: “The partnership between Middlesex University and Saracens High School is a fantastic example of all parts of our education system working together to support students in building a healthcare career. Access to world-leading facilities combined with the practical elements of T Levels provides students with the skills and experiences they need to take their next steps, whether that’s into higher education, an apprenticeship, or employment.”

Related Articles