Healthy outlook for skills

Healthy outlook for skills

When it comes to skills, Sunderland College is proving it has its finger firmly on the pulse, committing to providing its hundredth apprentice for a North East social and health care provider

The college – which has one of the largest A Level provisions in the region and a growing number of apprentices on its books – is working in partnership with Sunderland Care and Support, Sunderland City Council’s former adult provider services that delivers support to vulnerable people with a wide range of needs.

Sunderland College supports the company with its apprenticeship programme which offers 64 places annually, covering subject areas from health and social care to catering and business support. All apprentices are offered an opportunity to complete formal training with the college and company and gain experience of working in a front-line service.
Sunderland Care and Support has already recruited more than 25 of these apprentices, many others have gone on to find full time jobs in the health and social care sector.

Ellen Thinnesen, principal and chief executive of Sunderland College, said that the close relationship being formed with Sunderland Care and Support was helping the organisation meet its skills needs, as well as providing opportunities for the next generation of social and health care professionals. 

She said: “Social and health care is a sector in which there will always be a significant need, and it is important that we develop people who can meet the needs of the public, as well as the back of office support essential to the organisation and administration of the service.

“With a huge range of apprenticeship courses, we are able to supply skilled, bright minds across a range of subject areas, meaning we are effectively a one-stop-shop for organisations in the health and social care worlds. This has allowed us to build a strong relationship with many organisations in the North East that may well be looking for apprentices, or may wish to top-up the skills and qualifications of existing teams.”

The college – the largest provider of health and social care training in the North East - has
signed a strategic partnership with Sunderland Care and Support, which will see it continue to enhance the organisation’s skills pipeline for the foreseeable future. It also works with healthcare.

When it comes to skills, Sunderland College is proving it has its finger firmly on the pulse, committing to providing its hundredth apprentice for a North East social and health care provider bodies including Northumberland Tyne and Wear, South Tyneside Foundation, County Durham and Darlington Foundation NHS Trusts; Sunderland City Hospitals; Age UK Northumberland; and NHS Business Services Authority.

Philip Foster, chief operating officer at Sunderland Care and Support, said: “We have been working with the college for two years, and the support they have offered to help us realise our ambitions as a business has been fantastic.

“We have been able to develop a really strong talent pool, with skilled, well-rounded young people joining the team and bringing with them unique skills that will help us to deliver a high level of care to people in Sunderland for generations.

“The training we have been able to offer existing members of the team through Sunderland College means that the whole organisation is growing its knowledge and therefore better able to help adults with specific health and social care needs to live the
best life possible with our support.”

The college’s relationship with Sunderland Care and Support means that both organisations are up to date with the latest developments in their respective industries.

Mr Foster, who has been at the helm of Sunderland Care and Support since it became a stand-alone entity in 2013, said: “The team at the college can share with us all of the latest developments in terms of legislation that might affect us, like the apprentice levy for instance, and we in turn share the latest developments that might impact the subjects they cover, so the relationship works extremely well and keeps us both ahead of the game.

“We’re delighted with the support we have had from the college, and look forward to working with them in future to ensure that Sunderland Care and Support remains an organisation that invests in its workforce for the benefit of all of the people in the
city who need our help.”