A learner at Cheshire’s largest Further Education College has been instrumental in the care of local people during the pandemic, working on the frontline whilst continuing to attend College full-time to secure a university offer to study Paramedic Science.
Level 3 Health & Social Care learner at Cheshire College’s Ellesmere Port Campus, Caitlin Smith, secured her role as a part-time Care Assistant at Vale Court Care Home in Whitby in March 2020 as the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic. Since this time she has continued caring for the elderly whilst completing her qualifications, recently receiving an offer from the University of Hull to study Paramedic Science in September.
Initially joining Cheshire College in 2017 to study art and design, Caitlin’s passion to care for others was ignited after talking to close friends and family working in the NHS. In 2018 she chose to change her career path and began studying Level 2 Health & Social Care, progressing through the College’s study programmes.
Commenting on her experience, Caitlin said: “I’m really proud of what I have achieved since joining Cheshire College and the Health & Social Care Department. During my first year of study I secured a placement at Vale Court Care Home with the support of the College’s Work Experience Team and was offered a permanent job off the back of it. I began working as an Activities Coordinator and secured the role of Care Assistant once I had turned 18 last year.
“Working for the first time as a carer during the pandemic has been hard, but it’s made me who I am today and I’m really excited to start my journey of becoming a paramedic in September.”
Cheshire College’s Health & Social Care courses are specifically designed to prepare learners for a career in care with sector-standard facilities including health science labs, simulated hospital wards and specialist independent living areas at the College’s Campuses.
Anita Egan, Assistant Director for Health & Social Care at Cheshire College, said: “I am extremely proud of Caitlin and all she has achieved since joining the College four years ago. She has worked extremely hard inside and outside of College to learn new skills and enhance her knowledge by putting what she has learnt in the classroom into practice as part of her part-time job at Vale Court Care Home.
“As a College we strive to help learners reach their full potential, providing them with the skills, experience and qualifications that will prepare them for their future careers. Caitlin’s journey is a fantastic example of how we support learners to believe in themselves and achieve their dreams.”
With an increased demand in Health & Social Care roles across the region, tutors at Cheshire College have vast sector experience to help learners gain the skills and experience needed to fill these vacancies across a range of study programmes including full-time courses, Higher Education and new T Levels, the next level qualification set to fast-track learners’ careers.
Equivalent to three A Levels, T Levels have been designed with employers to help young people develop the knowledge, attitude and practical skills to thrive in the workplace. At the heart of each course is an extended work placement to give learners vital experience and Cheshire College is the only Further Education College in the county to be selected by the Government to offer them.