The College, which is a Centre of Excellence in Health and Social Care, has made significant investment, along with funding from the Wigan Foundation for Technical Education, to create the new training environment which will further enhance the technical skills and knowledge of students within this sector.

Health & Social Care is the largest employment sector in the borough across a range of occupations, many of which are highly skilled.To address the skills shortages and recruitment challenges, the College has developed a strong partnership with Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust through the development and delivery of a Pre Degree Nursing programme and a range of clinical care apprenticeships.

The Clinical Skills Centre, was unveiled by the Trust’s Assistant Director of Nursing and is equipped to reflect industry standards whilst designed to replicate a fully equipped ward environment.

Amanda Cheesman, Assistant Director of Nursing, said: “As a local health economy we want to grow our own nurses and create a pipeline of young people coming into the profession.The ‘grow your own’ initiatives are long term plans that aim to retain local nurses with incentives which will make them feel more nurtured and committed and more likely to stay local.

“The partnership we have with the College is beneficial to the NHS because it’s great for patient safety as the students get to practice skills before getting out onto the wards and they will consolidate the skills they’ve learned when they become nurses.”

This stimulating environment equips learners with real life situations and enhances teaching and learning.It contributes to the College’s excellent reputation and increased applications, while leading the way for a range of Health and Social Care careers.

Anna Dawe, Principal of Wigan & Leigh College, added: “We are delighted that Amanda could officially open the Clinical Skills Centre. As a College we are passionate about developing the future workforce whilst addressing skills shortages within this sector.We provide our students with outstanding opportunities for successful careers and it is important that they have access to the very best facilities in which to develop their skills and knowledge.

“We aim to offer much more than just a course, and the partnership between expert tutors and the NHS, along with outstanding facilities gives our students a real head start and makes them stand out."

The current cohort of Health & Social Care students are also celebrating after receiving prestigious university offers to study across a range of specialisms including midwifery, mental health, adult and paediatric nursing degrees.

Furthermore, the Pre-Degree Nursing students have all received impressive offers to study nursing at local universities such as Edge Hill University, the University of Salford and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The ‘grow your own and clinical care’ initiative is a major priority for the Trust and the area. The investment in skills and local people means more home based recruitment rather than from abroad.

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