With the NHS and health sector under increased pressure during unprecedented times, Education Partnership North East continues to lead the way in producing the next generation of frontline health care professionals.

Challenging the growing skills gap across the region, multi-million-pound investment in facilities will see a state-of-the-art ‘Health Hub’ open at Northumberland College, mirroring those already in place at Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form.

Featuring a hospital ward, treatment room and sluice area with patient mannequins, a self-contained apartment to mirror a modern home care environment, mock ambulance interior and real care infant simulators among other industry standard facilities, the Hubs ensure students gain vital skills and experience within professional working environments

In 2017, more than 96% of health and social care graduates from across the college group progressed to employment or further study, such as Leah, who now works at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

“I have always wanted to be a nurse and make a difference to people’s lives,” she says. “I started off as an apprentice which combined studying with working as a healthcare assistant on the trauma and orthopaedics ward.

“I was then offered a permanent position, assisting the nurses with discharging patients. I am proud of what I do, and healthcare is a profession I want to progress in and do for the rest of my life – I’m looking into studying a nursing degree.

“I owe my growth in confidence to my tutor and working at the hospital. The environment at college is very welcoming and the tutors are so supportive.”

The Group’s links with employers such as the NHS, Care Academy, Ashford Orthodontics, Age UK, Washington Mind and St Benedict’s Hospice, further helps students get career ready and gain real work skills.

“I look at the students being put through their paces in the Health Hubs and I see ready-made healthcare professionals,” adds Lance Gardner, Clinical Director and Chairman at social care provider, Be Caring.

“As an employer I could take on any one of these young people and know that Be Caring is welcoming a highly-trained and motivated professional.”

Almost 90,000 health jobs are expected to be available in the region in the coming years but, following the devastating outbreak of COVID-19, the specialist skills of health and social care professionals will be in higher demand than ever before.

Education Partnership North East CEO, Ellen Thinnesen, who is also a qualified nurse, said: “The dedication of outstanding health care professionals in the current challenge is admirable. I am proud that as a group of colleges we are ensuring that the workforce of the future is enhanced with individuals are trained and committed to joining this invaluable sector in a range of careers.”

To find out more about Sunderland College, Northumberland College, and Hartlepool Sixth Form’s Health and Social Care programmes, as well as get information about the new innovative Virtual Open Days, visit www.educationpartnershipne.ac.uk.

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

(Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19