Knowledge in College, skills in the workplace

Cheshire College – South & West are working with businesses across Cheshire to provide meaningful work placements for their Health and Social Care and Early Years learners.

Each year, all full-time learners must complete a minimum of 24 hours work placement, however in some instances, like Health and Social Care and Early Years, this can be considerably more.

In the lead up to September the College worked closely with awarding bodies to establish the requirement for work placements this academic year and quickly started to contact past, present and upcoming employers, to ensure learners had a wide variety of opportunities available to them upon their return.

This year, tutors have been creative in their approach, to allow learners to gain relevant skills, regardless of whether their placement is directly linked to their career aspirations. For example, those training to be nurses, have visited dentists and those that desire to work in medical science have spent time with pharmacists. Transferable skills learnt, include communication skills, organisation, leadership, teamwork and numeracy and literacy.

This outside of the box thinking has enabled the majority (82%) of Early Years learners to secure their work placement within the first six weeks of term.

Taylor Burrell, 17, from Nantwich, studying Level 3 Health Science, said: “Being part of a team in a professional environment, learning about different roles and responsibilities and developing essential skills is highly valuable and not something you can easily replicate in a classroom environment.

“I am really happy that I chose to study at Cheshire College. The experiences I have had to date have been amazing and the friendships I have built with tutors and other learners will last a lifetime.”

Lynne Rowland, Assistant Director – Health, Early Years, Access, Care Entry Level & Teacher Training, at the College’s Crewe Campus, commented: “Our Health and Social Care and Early Years learners have to successfully complete their work placements to gain their licence to practice, so it wasn’t an option for us to not embed it into the curriculum this year.

“There are numerous roles available in industry and our learners have shown passion and enthusiasm, which has changed everyone’s attitude towards overcoming challenges.
“We continue to develop our courses in partnership with employers to ensure we are always adapting to the skills industry need and I am delighted that so many of our partners continue to support the College.”

Mark Parsons, Assistant Principal, Curriculum, added: “The College views work placements as an integral part of a learner’s education. It is a great way to try out their future career path, to gain experience, build confidence and will help them stand out from the crowd when it comes to applying for jobs.

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