If you had been passing through the reception areas of either St Christopher’s Hospice, London, or St Giles Hospice, Lichfield, on the morning of 1 July, you would have been surrounded by a group of excited but apprehensive 17 and 18 year olds, ready to start day one of the first ever summer school run by the respective hospice education teams.
The five-day course for 16 to 19 year olds, delivered over three weeks, is fully funded by the Skills Funding Agency through a partnership with local further education colleges.
The course involves a variety of experiences, including facilitated patient contact, classroom seminars, discussions, e-based and other experiential activities including ‘speed’ interviewing of a range of those who work and contribute to the life of the hospice.
Participating students learn what a career in care is really like as well as being introduced, in a supportive environment, to concepts of death, dying and loss. Successful completion of the course will give them the following qualifications:
- City and Guilds level 1 award in preparing to work in adult social care
- City and Guilds level 2 award in awareness of end of life care
- Edexcel BTEC level 1 award in supporting employability and personal effectiveness.
The idea for the summer school came from the need to provide young people who want to pursue a career in medicine, nursing, allied health or social care the chance to experience a care setting for real and learn about the range of professions and opportunities.
The summer school is part of an expanding range of programmes and qualifications being developed and piloted through a partnership between St Giles and St Christopher’s to improve the quality of end of life care in their communities.
At St Giles, pre-employment training was designed to allow individuals who wanted to work for St Giles Care Agency the opportunity to have three weeks of preparatory training before interviews were held for a number of vacancies. Those who completed the training and were successful at interview have been employed by the care agency. Their first employed year will be as an adult apprentice, studying for the level 2 diploma in health and social care, with a specific focus on dementia care. (They will also improve their literacy, numeracy, personal learning and thinking skills).
St Christopher’s Hospice is also introducing pre-employment training to recruit staff into the St Christopher’s Care Agencies, as well as professional development in end of life and dementia care for existing practitioners. The hospice’s education department also has plans for a level 5 qualification for care home managers. These programmes are accredited and successful completion gives the learners QCF qualifications (these replaced NVQ and other vocational qualifications in 2010).
Both hospices have an ambitious education programmes planned for the year ahead, if you would like to know more about the summer schools project, or the hospices’ education programme, please contact Carol Husselbee at St Giles Hospice and/or Dion Bachmann at St Christopher’s Hospice.