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Coventry Education Business Partnership Centre for Health and Social Care

In September 2006 the Centre for the History of Medicine joined an initiative to establish an Education Business Partnership Centre for Health and Social Care at University Hospital in Coventry. Working closely with Coventry City Council, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, and other partners, a range of modules are currently being developed for delivery to primary and secondary students. These will offer non-traditional learning opportunities for young people and will incorporate use of the George Eliot Hospital Museum collections. Modules subjects include contagious disease in Victorian Britain, medical uses of DNA, and hygiene in modern hospitals.

Following is a briefing document on the project.

The DFES-funded Health Sector Pathfinder project was established in September 2004 to engage with groups aged 14-19 for the purpose of promoting careers in health and social care (H&SC). Having the right staff, skilled to the right level and retained within an organisation, helps to achieve organisational objectives and makes efficient use of resources. The attraction, recruitment, training and development, and retention of skilled health workers increasingly challenge employers in the sector. With the population ageing, and given recent medical advances, ensuring that appropriate services are provided will require an increasing proportion of younger people entering the workforce. It is with this in mind that the project undertook to develop work placement and other opportunities for young people and, building on the success of those programmes, to explore the possibility of establishing an Education Business Partnership Centre for Health and Social Care in Coventry.

Partners for the project are as follows:

  • University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW) –Teaching NHS Trust employing up to 7000 staff with accessibility to excellent training facilities and professional healthcare staff
  • The Coventry Teaching Primary Care Trust (TPCT) – Primary Care Trust employing up to 2000 staff with accessibility to training facilities and professional healthcare staff
  • Coventry Local Education Authority – Proactive 14 -19 team, widening participation in vocational learning through a variety of externally funded projects including the Health Sector Pathfinder. The Project is managed through this team. Acts as an advisory service through the H&SC teachers network
  • CSWP Connexions Coventry & Warwickshire – Young peoples’ support service providing links to all schools in Coventry & Warwickshire and access to careers advice
  • Schools & Colleges – Links formed between specific teaching staff delivering H&SC in schools
  • Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership for Care – A partnership raising standards of training and the profile of the care professions. Funded through Skills for Care and the local LSC

The partnership has been successful in creating a range of opportunities for young people, including: two-week block work-experience placements; Young Apprenticeship scheme for 14-16 years olds in H≻ NHS Careers Event for Coventry schools; Student Apprenticeship Scheme for post-16s; Health & Social Care/ Medical Insights Programme; and the Careers Ambassadors Scheme, in which more than 60 staff volunteers from UHCW and Coventry TPCT visited schools or events to promote understanding of H&SC careers. Professional placement days for teaching staff and Careers Advisors were also organised.

In September 2006, the Centre for the History of Medicine (University of Warwick) joined the partnership to provide advice and guidance on how to take the project forward incorporating the history of medicine and healthcare in the region and in the UK generally.

Partnership Centre for Health and Social Care
The next step for the Project is to establish a centre for vocational learning in a ‘real’ setting – the Education Business Partnership Centre for Health and Social Care. A number of these centres already exist in Coventry & Warwickshire with the support of local government. They offer vocational learning experiences to schools and exist in several skills sectors including construction, manufacturing, engineering, and sport. Existing centres are popular and used everyday throughout term time by schools. The centres also run local community projects during out of hour’s time and school holiday times. The Partnership Centre for Health and Social Care would be modelled on existing centres.

Simply stated, the purpose of the Partnership Centre for Health and Social Care is to provide schools, colleges and local communities with a conducive and flexible learning environment where a range of health care related education can be accessed. The goal if for the Centre to be a ‘home base’ for health- and social care-related learning activities for all age groups in schools, communities and prospective and current employees in Coventry & Warwickshire. To these ends, once established the Centre will focus on the following activities:

  • Learning modules for Key Stage 4 & 5 students studying a range of H&SC subjects
  • Learning modules based around the history of medicine that make use of work undertaken by the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital Project, including workshops for young people
  • Exhibitions and a programme of public events/activities deriving from this material
  • Promotion of healthy lifestyles
  • Vocational learning to support cross curricular subjects, such as citizenship & PHSE
  • Coordination of work experience programmes
  • Coordination and delivery of Insight programme in Medicine and H&SC
  • Student Apprenticeships
  • Extension of the NHS Careers Ambassadors scheme to include Care Ambassadors
  • Extended study skills workshops for students – after school activities

It is widely accepted that the UK’s H&SC sector is the largest employer in Europe and 3rd largest in the world. Offering this kind of learning centre would bring valuable benefits to the sector and to the community as a whole. There are key staffing shortages in the industry. Much of the publicity surrounding working in healthcare is poor especially in the present political climate. Creating a learning centre with an emphasis on the local history of healthcare within Coventry & Warwickshire would go a long way to overturn misconceptions. It would help to encourage a more diverse workforce and increase participation in health care and education.

New funding was secured for the Project Coordinator to continue in post until July 2008. The new project is now called ‘Passport to Health & Social Care’. Funding is through Skills for Health, Aimhigher, Coventry LA and WCC. A steering group has been formed with a working party attached. Following are the key areas to be addressed by the Project Coordinator and working party:

Premises – There are a variety of healthcare settings within Coventry & Warwickshire that could host the Centre. The success of Coventry Partnership Centres is in large part due to being based in a real setting where students can get a ‘hands on’ experience of the sector. The project is investigating the old Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital’s Postgraduate Medical Centre as a possible site. The new hospital site at Walsgrave also houses excellent training and education facilities. Funding is required for either renovation of the Cov & Wark site, or a long term lease at the new hospital.

Funding Possibilities – There are several possible funding sources which are currently being investigated. This includes Heritage Lottery Funding and Family Learning Lottery Funding.

Income Generation and Sustainability – Schools in Coventry & Warwickshire will be invited to use the centre on a regular basis. Schools are allocated an enterprise budget to use for vocational learning. Partnership centres in Coventry charge £170 for a half day session at the centre. This is for a group of between 25-30 students and includes transport provided by the centre. Warwickshire schools pay £220 for a half day, as they aren’t subsidised by Coventry Education Authority. Staffing is provided by Coventry City Council. As part of the NHS Pathfinder project over 60 Ambassadors have volunteered their time for curriculum support. These staff could supplement permanent teaching staff at the proposed centre. Staff time is the contribution the NHS can make towards the centre.