A £5 million health and social care centre to provide training for the next generation of key workers has been officially opened.
The new Marches Centre of Excellence in Health and Social Care, at the Telford campus of the University of Wolverhampton, will allow students to gain hands-on experience and ultimately help address the shortfalls in health professionals.
Simulation facilities, a digital dissection table, a mock house and various teaching spaces feature in the new facility, which has received £3.5m Growth Deal funding from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
There is also the ability to live-stream lessons and replicate emergency scenarios through immersive reality in all kinds of environments from a hospital ward to a kitchen and nightclub.
The university already offers nursing courses at the Telford campus, and additional courses will now be on offer in areas ranging from social care to emergency planning.
It hopes to recruit 1,300 new students, including 174 apprentices, across the courses between now and 2024.
niversity of Wolverhampton vice-chancellor Professor Geoff Layer said there was a focus on the development of skill needs for the region.
“What’s been quite crucial during the period of the pandemic is the recognition around the needs of many of our health and social care workers and the way in which they contribute spectacularly to our society,” he said.
“What this is about is active learning in the health and social care sector with state of the art facilities; facilities that we could only dream of years ago.”
Chief executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service Anthony Marsh said the centre builds upon the increasing use of technology and innovation, which will further improve the training of students taking up careers in the NHS and social care.
He added: “The NHS is a fantastic organisation with a reputation of excellence and providing world class care, but we are not complacent.
“In the ambulance service we want to continue to develop the role of paramedics.
“This is a centre of excellence that will support the NHS, the ambulance service in the Midlands and across our country.”
He says as the NHS now moves out of the global pandemic, waiting lists are longer than they have ever been.
“These are patients waiting to be helped,” he added.
“We want to continue to work very closely in a true partnership with the university to be able to train and educate all of our staff so that we can help all our patients receive the treatment they need and to drive down waiting lists.”
Chair of the Marches LEP Mandy Thorn said the opening of the centre could not have come at a more appropriate time and was an investment in the long-term future of health and social care.
She said: “This facility will help us retain more of our young talent by giving them the skills and experience they need to meet their own career ambitions and to create more high valued jobs and opportunities for years to come.”
Overbury’s Birmingham-based team was appointed as the contractor to lead the refurbishment and fit out of existing space in the Angad Paul Building at the Priorslee campus.
For further information about studying health courses at the university, visit wlv.ac.uk/health
Source: Shropshire Star