January 2021

New technical college qualification launched to meet rising demand for healthcare workers 

By Melanie Hall

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A new industry-designed technical qualification has been launched at University College Birmingham which could prove instrumental in meeting the rapidly rising demand for healthcare workers. 

As LinkedIn published a report revealing a 104% increase in demand for those who support frontline doctors and nurses, the further education provider is one of the first to offer the new T-level in Health, starting this September. 

To get the qualification off to a flying start, course leaders now want to hear from councils, private nursing and care homes and, while the NHS remains under pressure, other non-frontline healthcare settings who would be interested in providing a placement for students.

T-levels have been introduced by the government as an alternative to A-levels and are two-year courses that are designed with industry experts with the aim of giving young people the skills needed for them to succeed in the workplace. 

“Demand for healthcare support workers in the UK and globally is huge and this new T-level will be invaluable in the recruitment of college leavers that have great practical and communication skills, the ability to work within a team and knowledge of core NHS and healthcare values."

Kathryn Riley Head of Department of Health (Nursing and Physiotherapy)

On the new Level 3 course at University College Birmingham, students will learn about working in health and science, good scientific and clinical practice, infection prevention and control in health-specific settings and develop key practical and technical skills sought after within the sector. 

Crucially, the course will combine learning in the classroom - with access to cutting-edge health facilities, including a replica, clinical ward with simulation manikins - with gaining vital, ‘on-the-job’ experience, and will include a technical qualification to answer today’s employer demands. 

Kathryn Riley, Head of Department of Health (Nursing and Physiotherapy) at the University, said: “Demand for healthcare support workers in the UK and globally is huge and this new T-level will be invaluable in the recruitment of college leavers that have great practical and communication skills, the ability to work within a team and knowledge of core NHS and healthcare values. 

“A key part of T-levels is the chance to gain extensive experience on a significant work placement. For Health, this will be 315 hours in a real working environment. Our hired@UCB employability tutors will be organising this and we will be starting to look for placement providers in the near future.” 

Those achieving the T-level qualification will be able to progress to work in a number of roles. As well as healthcare support worker, these include everything from registered nurse and dental nurse to pharmacy assistant. 

And the qualification carries UCAS points, allowing students to progress onto an undergraduate degree such as the Adult Nursing BSc (Hons) or Health and Social Care BSc (Hons) at University College Birmingham.  

If students find they particularly enjoy ‘on-the-job’ training and want to start earning, they could also choose to go onto a Level 5 Assistant Practitioners in Healthcare Apprenticeship at the University. 

The new T-level follows Education and Childcare as the second to be delivered by University College Birmingham this September, with T-levels in Digital, Production, Design and Development Digital Support and Services, Digital Business Services, Accountancy and Management and Administration approved for 2022-23

Find out more about the new T-level in Health Level 3 at University College Birmingham and other courses offered by our Department of Health

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