Liverpool Clinical Laboratories (LCL) was awarded the ‘Widening Participation Award’ at the Learning Matters Health and Care Awards, last week in Manchester.
The awards are part of an adult learning campaign from Voluntary Sector North West (VSNW) and Health Education England (HEE) which aims to highlight the contribution adult learning makes to individual, community and economic wellbeing. The overarching theme of the awards was ‘lifelong learning is good for people’ and organisers were especially keen to hear about initiatives which have supported a diversity of people into the NHS.
The award recognised LCL’s Traineeship Programme launched earlier this year, which trains 16-24 year olds as Medical Laboratory Assistants. The aim of the programme is to give young people in Liverpool the opportunity to explore careers in healthcare science and further education, something which they might not have traditionally considered.
The course is run in partnership with Liverpool in Work, Wirral Met College and the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals and lasts for 13 weeks; combining classroom learning with on the job training. Students rotate across specimen reception duties, haematology in blood sciences and infection and immunity in microbiology to develop a range of lab skills and a clearer understanding of the important role healthcare science plays in patient and care pathways.
Once they complete the programme, students are guaranteed an interview for suitable positions, as they become available and have the option to join the temporary staffing bank at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals.
Karen Mattson, Head of Organisational Development and Learning at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital where the Traineeship programme is hosted said:
“Working with Liverpool in Work and Wirral Met College has helped us reach students from all over Merseyside and in particular, enabled us to make the course accessible for people with learning disabilities.
We’re really pleased the programme at LCL has been so successful and have rolled it out across a number of different departments within the hospital.”
This is the second time the Traineeship scheme has been recognised nationally. Earlier this year Dave Eccleston, who leads the programme for LCL, received the Chief Scientific Officer’s award for Equality and Diversity Leadership for the innovative and inclusive approach taken to Traineeships.
Jane Mills, Chief Operating Officer for Liverpool Clinical Laboratories said:
“We know the NHS workforce is under represented by 16-24 year olds, particularly in laboratories.
Our Traineeship is unique in that it provides a clear and accessible route into healthcare science without formal qualifications and that’s really important if we are to attract young people to healthcare science and build a sustainable workforce.”
• Liverpool Clinical Laboratories (LCL) is an operating contractual joint venture between The Royal Liverpool Hospital and Broadgreen Hospital and Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. LCL is the largest pathology service in Cheshire and Merseyside, processing over 15 million sample tests every year.
• Thirteen students have completed the programme so far and a further six are due to finish in July 2017.
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