AN ASPIRATIONAL health and social care programme will give people working in the sector an accessible route to promotion and progression.
Led by programme leader and lecturer Andrea Roberts, the two-year Health and Social Care foundation degree is based at Coleg Cambria’s University Centre in Wrexham and gives learners a flexible path to achieve a qualification “designed to build confidence” in a friendly and informal environment.
Participants can go on to achieve a full degree by completing a third year of the course at Bangor University.
Andrea said there is huge demand for more workers in the health and social care arenas, adding: “I think a lot of people think opportunities are limited, but the skills they will learn are transferable and there are so many career options out there, some of which people are unaware of, from supporting people with drug and alcohol issues to children’s services, mental health and more.
“The course is condensed into two days a week to ensure students can continue to work, and will give those already in employment a boost, widening the number of pathways available to them.
“Traditionally a lot of people working in care, especially social care, will have got the job with limited experience and only basic academic qualifications, which is why there is often a lot of staff turnover.
“If they are encouraged a huge number of options become available to them, and here in north east Wales alone there are many third sector organisations and services linked to social sciences, health and social care that need high-quality candidates.”
As entrants will not need to apply via the UCAS process, Andrea said it opens the programme up to more prospective learners who can register for a place via the University Centre online.
“If they have maturity and experience, we welcome them,” she said.
“We have people joining us who don’t even have a GCSE, they got a job in care but have few chances to go much further because they lack the qualifications, and that’s where we come in.
“Cambria is all about removing barriers and providing people in Wrexham and beyond with access to education, and this foundation degree is the perfect example of that.”
Having formerly worked in the control room at North Wales Police, and for the local council, Andrea herself returned to education in later life to realise her own career ambitions.
“I’ve been there myself and achieved a degree and PGCE in the last decade as my children have gotten older and I followed my dream to become a teacher,” she said.
“Educational success can be achieved by all, regardless of a person’s background. It’s not a case of how intelligent a person is, it’s about enthusiasm, commitment, hard work, and a willingness to learn.
“Confidence also is key, and we appreciate it can be intimidating to return to the classroom, but we have a fantastic team here who will make that transition as smooth as possible.
“There are jobs out there and there is a need for more skilled, experienced, educated candidates so in partnership with Bangor University we hope to see this programme go from strength to strength in the future.”