Northumberland College is planning to invest in state-of-the-art health care facilities to challenge the growing skills gap in the health and social care sector across the region, as part of a multi-million-pound investment programme.
The Health Hub, which will be located at the College’s Ashington campus, will comprise a hospital ward, treatment room, sluice area and self-contained apartment to mirror a modern home care environment. Resources will include a life-size patient care mannequin and specialist medical equipment.
The Hub will enable students to train in industry-standard facilities, participate in practical activities and engage in simulated role play situations to gain essential industry skills and prepare them for work placements and future employment within the sector.
Nigel Harrett, Principal of Northumberland College, said: “We are looking forward to the opening of our new Health Hub, which will ensure that our students learn in professional working environments. This state-of-the-art resource will support the college in meeting the needs of the local economy and producing the next generation of highly-skilled health professionals.”
The new Health Hub will provide significant benefits to students, employers and the wider community. It is part of the first phase of the college’s multi-million-pound investment programme, which is being project managed by real estate consultants, Hollis.
The re-development will also include a full refurbishment of classrooms on two floors near the new Health Hub, in addition to new windows, new heating and electrics, efficiency improvements such as LED lighting, plus new teaching equipment and IT infrastructure.
Northumberland College merged with Sunderland College in March this year to create Education Partnership North East, one of the largest college groups in the country. Chief Executive of Education Partnership North East, Ellen Thinnesen, who is also a qualified nurse, said: “Health and social care is one of the region’s largest industry sectors with new emerging specialist areas. The new Health Hub at Northumberland College will allow us to train our students to the highest standards, expand the reach of skills development across the region and develop and strengthen our regional and national employer partnerships.”
Last year there were approximately 3,500 vacancies in the North East adult social care sector, however, an estimated 28,000 new jobs will need to be filled by 2035 to accommodate the growing demands of an ageing population.
The college’s Ashington campus will also see the construction of an advanced, state-of-the-art digital academy and a dynamic student hub, in addition to extensive refurbishment including brand new windows, a modern heating system, new boundary fencing and refurbished classrooms.
The investments are part of a multi-million-pound redevelopment programme that was announced last year, with student welfare and student experience being the main focus of the project. The first phase of the redevelopment programme is already underway and the new facilities are transforming the college into a modern, careers and skills-focused centre for school leavers and adults in Northumberland.
The North East’s higher education and further education institutions play a vital role in helping to build a strong regional economy, from their contributions to innovation, social mobility and workplace productivity, to the role they play in bringing skills and investment to the region.