Government funds enhance links between educators and heath sector employers

Catherine Langstreth

The Government has provided £1.5m to improve links between Greater Manchester education providers and employers in the health sector.

Funding from the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) will see Bolton College lead a consortium of nine Further Education colleges in Greater Manchester to enhance links.

The £1.5m funding forms part of a wider £8.5m investment for a partnership of 18 Greater Manchester FE colleges. These funds will be used to contribute to the development of new facilities and curricula across the region to meet the evolving skillset demands of sectors including health, digital and construction.

The consortium will be using some of the funding to install state-of-the-art Anatomage tables in their facilities. These virtual dissection tables will provide students with the ability to visualise and simulate 3D anatomy and physiology, providing a more immersive learning experience for students and a wider range of CPD opportunities for existing NHS staff.

As part of LSIF’s overarching aim to address the national skills gap, Bolton College is also currently working in partnership with Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and The Christie Hospital, one of the largest cancer treatment centres in Europe, to assess the digital competencies of nurses and midwives from across the two facilities.

This data will then be used to create personalised learning pathways and recommend targeted training programmes that effectively bridge identified skill gaps that exist amongst staff at the two hospitals.

Bolton College’s LSIF work to date marks the latest in a string of successes for the town in its aspiration to become a national centre of excellence for health.

As part of the University of Bolton Group, Bolton College has also been central to recent local developments, such as the soon-to-be opened University of Bolton’s Institute of Medical Sciences, which will support 3,000 learners annually.

Catherine Langstreth, Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Stakeholder Engagement at Bolton College, said: “We’re proud to be leading on the LSIF health initiative for Greater Manchester, to more closely align the needs of employers with the skillsets of our students.

“As education providers, it’s our duty to ensure local communities are jointly benefiting from our work and these grants will allow colleges, students and employers nationally to realise their collaborative potential, and I’m personally very excited to see where this might lead.”