The Marches Centre of Excellence for Health and Social Care officially opened in May, and the first cohort of students are now benefitting from the latest technology and training facilities.
Based at the University of Wolverhampton’s Telford campus, the centre received £3.5m Growth Deal funding from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and includes teaching spaces such as a mock house and simulated hospital settings.
It is providing students with industry-leading technology and experiences to equip them with the skills needed for a career on the frontline, as well as enabling those already working in the health and social care sector to gain new skills.
The centre is proactively addressing shortfalls in health professionals across the Marches area, with an emphasis on local people and students who will become key workers within the region.
Lecturer in adult nursing Alexandra Douglas said: “We have a range of facilities here in our labs that enable our students to recreate real-life situations and scenarios in a safe and controlled manner.
"It's an all-around theory and simulation base of learning that has direct links to practice in whichever area they end up working in.
Watch students sharing their opinions of the new centre:
“With the investment that's currently coming to our Telford campus, in particular with the Marches development, it creates a level of engagement which is so important with building on our relationships within the community, as well as with both formal and informal health and social care providers, which helps students identify, understand and eventually manage our local community’s health needs.”
Matthew Weston, a third-year adult nursing student studying at the centre, said: “Just before you qualify it's scary, so to be able to practice on state-of-the-art equipment and realistic scenarios that we are going to be working with out in practice and when we qualify, it's definitely a massive improvement and benefit for us.”
Megan Holloway, who is also studying nursing at the university, said: “There are lots of interactive things in here which I haven't had experience of before such as the simulation doll, which makes it much more realistic, you don't have to rely on the lecturer to tell you what's going on and you can feel it more for yourself.
"It’s experiences like this that really make the transition to practice easier.”
Mandy Thorn, chair of the Marches LEP, said she was delighted to see that the centre got off to "a tremendous start".
She said: "It is not only equipping a new generation of health and care professionals with the highest standards of training and skills now, but will create a legacy which will benefit this region for years to come.
“It will help retain more young talent in this region by giving them the skills and experience they need to meet their own career ambitions and, in doing so, create more high-value jobs and opportunities.”
The new facilities include a room for paramedic science and other disciplines, a mock house, various teaching spaces and new student social spaces.
A new Anatomage room has also been created, following on from the success of similar innovations at the university’s Wolverhampton and Walsall campus.
This features a state-of-the-art Anatomage table that allows students to digitally ‘see’ inside the human body.
The Marches Centre of Excellence provides provisions for a range of health and social care based courses including adult nursing, mental health nursing, paramedic science, social work, social care and emergency planning.
For more information visit wlv.ac.uk