THE future of North Wales nursing is in good health following the development of an innovative partnership between Coleg Cambria and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. Sixteen learners from the college’s Yale site in Wrexham are on a two-year placement at the town’s Maelor Hospital. Blending time in the classroom with one day a week on different wards and areas of care, the ‘Nurse Cadets’ have enjoyed the first few weeks of the pilot initiative and are gaining valuable experience alongside trained medical staff. Claire Williams, Cambria’s Curriculum Director for Health, Social Care and Childcare, said the union will give the students a flavour of real-time hospital life and working practices. “Our relationship with the health board continues to go from strength to strength and has provided the learners with a unique opportunity to explore different aspects of healthcare and medicine,” said Claire. “Over the course of the next 12 months they will work in three areas of the hospital; that rotation allows them to specialise in different fields and expand their skillset while finding out which suits them best, which discipline they might like to pursue as a career. “They will then proceed to the second year, where there is the potential to work flexible shifts at the hospital. “It’s a fabulous collaborative effort and I must say a big thank you to lead tutor Stefanie Matthews, who has worked alongside the health board to deliver this, looking after the students and providing enrichment opportunities to prepare them for the placements.” Vicky Edwards, the college’s Vice Principal of Technical Studies, added: “BCUHB have fed into the curriculum and tailored these placements to meet the needs of specific wards and the types of patients they’ll be caring for, so the Nurse Cadets will be learning the same processes on this course they would use in their day-to-day jobs. “That means together we are training the next generation of nurses and helping to meet demand in the sector at a critical time given the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and recruitment nationally. “This first cohort have already immersed themselves in the programme, showing resilience and an appetite to learn and help people – this is the beginning of an exciting journey for them.” Alongside their vocational tasks the learners will study for a WJEC Level 3 Health and Social Care in Principles and Practice, WJEC Medical Science, and the Health and Social Care City and Guilds Level 2 Core Qualification. Gill Harris, BCUHB Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “As a hospital providing care for local communities, we are delighted to be able to help support and influence the career pathways of the Nurse Cadets. “The Health Board celebrates this step forward in terms of growing the future workforce and fully acknowledge the positive benefits that having the Nurse Cadets working alongside our teams brings to our present patients.” For more information, visit www.cambria.ac.uk or email [email protected]. Alternatively, call 0300 30 30 007.