Health and Healthcare Science students from local colleges have been gaining valuable and practical NHS experience on placement with Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU) as part of their two-year T Level course.
This year, PHU welcomed 15 students from South Down’s College (HSDC) and eight students from Fareham College to spend 3-week placements across a variety of departments, including the Acute Medical Unit (AMU), Paediatric wards, Paediatrics Emergency Department, Community Midwifery, Histology, Radiography, Microbiology and Physiotherapy.
Annie Durack is in her second year of her Health and Nursing T Level studies at HSDC and aspires to be a nurse. She spent her placement in the Paediatric Emergency Department.
The 18-year-old said, “The T-level qualification really took an interest for me because of the practical placements. The Health and Nursing course I have chosen is amazing! There is so much to do, learn and experience.
“My favourite part was meeting the team and settling in. They made it so easy for me to learn lots of new skills and get involved with different things.
“It was very interesting to see how the different roles within the department help make up such a good team, each contributing to patient care. They really made me feel like a member of the team and I can’t wait to go back again in December.”
T Levels are an alternative to A levels, apprenticeships, and other courses for people between the ages of 16 to 19.
They focus on vocational skills and help students into skilled employment by offering them practical placement work within their studies.
Lead Practice Educator, Tonia Anderson-Mils has been leading the T Levels programme at PHU.
She said: “I went down the traditional route into my nursing career, with A levels and University, meaning I didn’t have any care experience when I started my nursing placement. T Levels are a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable practical experience in an NHS environment.
“These placement experiences are the building blocks to a career in healthcare. The students not only gain valuable knowledge and skills but increase their employment opportunities, build their confidence with patients, practice their communication skills, and develop a deeper understanding for the care and compassion we give to our patients. We have had amazing feedback for far – both from staff mentoring the students and the students themselves.”
Annie added: “I would highly recommend T-level courses! They are an amazing opportunity to become really involved with the career path you desire. For me, doing this Health and Nursing T-level has showed me what amazing opportunities are out there and it has given me an honest insight into my future career as a nurse.”
Emma Gotz, T Level Strategic Lead for the 350+ NHS Careers Programme, which works across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to facilitate the uptake of career opportunities including T Level placements, added: “What Tonia and the team are doing in Portsmouth is absolutely brilliant and exactly what we would like to see adopted at scale across the NHS in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
“Growing T Level placements in our region will ensure opportunities for young people and the strength of the NHS workforce for decades to come.”
10 further students from City of Portsmouth college will begin their placement this November, and there are plans to expand placement opportunities in the future.