Facilities staff get training academy at NHS

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EVERYONE knows that doctors need extensive training before being trusted on the wards.

And now Lothian health chiefs have decided to apply the same principles to hospital workers in less prestigious roles.

They have joined forces with local councils to develop a new Facilities Academy – where porters, chefs, car park attendants and drivers will be trained.

Students completing the course, run between NHS Lothian, Edinburgh and Midlothian councils and Edinburgh College, can then win a place on the health board’s staff bank, giving them the chance to win permanent jobs.

George Curley, director of operations for facilities at NHS Lothian, which is the region’s largest employer with around 24,000 staff, encouraged potential students to sign up for what he described as an “exciting opportunity”.

He added: “The Facilities Academy is a great platform for people to gain the hands-on placements en route to embarking on a career in facilities with the NHS and local authorities.”

Students will begin enrolling next month for the course, which will be run from NHS Lothian’s Comely Bank Centre with health board staff helping deliver some lessons. Described as a “bespoke academy designed to give students the employability skills to apply for roles within facilities in the NHS and local authorities”, the course is open to anybody aged 16 or over and it is hoped that it will boost employment opportunities.

Students will work towards achieving the Certificate of Work Readiness, a nationally recognised qualification. They will attend NHS Lothian’s corporate induction, before taking classes in topics including communication, first aid, food hygiene, life skills and manual handling.

Over four months, students will be able to talk to behind-the-scenes NHS employees and will experience an eight-week work-based placement.

Rachel McFadden, health and social care programme manager at Edinburgh College, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to give more people excellent career prospects. Often, people think the NHS only has positions for healthcare professionals but there’s so many more choices.”

Midlothian Council leader Owen Thompson said the course would help his local authority achieve its objective of creating youth employment.

He added: “In Midlothian, all public authorities are signed up to the Single Midlothian Plan, which commits us all to improving positive destinations for young people leaving school, intervening early in children’s lives where we’re needed and promoting economic recovery.”