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Autistic children in Berkshire school to benefit from new Digital Healthcare Apprentice support

DHS apprenticeship with Prior's Court

Prior's Court, a specialist residential school in Berkshire and training and development centre for young people aged between 5-25 who are severely affected by autism, is working with WMG at the University of Warwick to help recruit two specialist Digital Healthcare apprentice staff.

The new Digital Healthcare Apprentices will investigate and evaluate data collected on Prior’s Court pupils to support improvements in the wellbeing and experiences of young people with autism at Prior's Court –and will be part of the first wave of a new, innovative national digital healthcare science workforce, working in health and social care to improve people’s health and wellbeing.

Using ‘Big Data’ mining techniques the apprentices, working under joint supervision by academics and specialist autism practitioners, will be able to sift more than a million data points to identify circumstances which predict particular behaviour patterns. This will in turn enable earlier intervention steps to be taken.

This could make a major difference to their quality of life, minimising incidents and perhaps even enabling a young person at the school to later enter employment where this was may have not been previously possible.

The two new Digital Healthcare Apprentices will provide specialist support to the Foundation and its young people, while also studying towards a Bachelor of Science Undergraduate degree in Digital Healthcare Science with the University of Warwick drawing on the expertise of two departments – WMG and Warwick Medical School.

Prior’s Court Chief Executive Mike Robinson said: “Autism is a complex condition. The fundamental question ‘Why does someone with autism have a good day or a bad day?’ is a difficult one to answer. For the young people at Prior’s Court who are severely affected by autism, often with other complex coexisting conditions, it is almost impossible to answer. We believe that by applying the power of being able to collect and analyse large quantities of data to this problem, we will be able to start to answer the question.

“Our digital platform Prior Insight is capturing thousands of pieces of data on our young people every day but it is the practical application which is key. By working with the University of Warwick and recruiting Digital Healthcare Apprentices we can ensure that data is comprehensively analysed and applied to positively impact the lives of many more people with autism – both at Prior’s Court and in the wider world of autism.”

Professor Ed Peile, of Warwick Medical School, comments:

“On my first visit to Prior’s Court I was inspired by how the team there are constantly striving to help young people with severe autism lead happy and fulfilling lives. I was keen to see their cutting edge project using the digital platform ‘Prior Insight’ and to understand what role future members of the new specialism Digital Healthcare Science could play.

“It was immediately apparent to me that, both in their apprenticeship training and when they graduate, Digital Healthcare Scientists have so much to offer at Prior’s Court, and so much to gain there. Thanks to the investment in data collection at Prior’s Court, there is a huge amount of information about how each young person functions.

“Not only that, but working with other technologies including ‘wearable digital technology’ and using the skills of behavioural science and shared decision-making taught on our innovative ‘fusion science course’ will enable the apprentices to contribute as they learn in the workplace.”

How to apply

Applications for the two new roles close in just two weeks on 30th September 2020. Details on how to apply can be found here