A second cohort of support workers has started a foundation degree course run by independent provider Virgin Care.
As reported by Nursing Times last year, Virgin has started offering the training to its health and social care teams across England via a new partnership with a university in the Midlands.
The course is intended to enable clinical support staff and care assistants to qualify as assistant practitioners – with the potential to then do further training to become a registered nurse.
In June last year, the first 18 clinical support staff and care assistants were enrolled on the initial foundation degree course, which is running at Virgin Care’s education base in Farnham.
Today Virgin, which holds a number of NHS community service contacts, revealed that 12 staff from health and social care teams across the South West had now also started the course on 22 February.
The Professional Development (Health and Social Care) Foundation Degree is a work-based, two-year course developed by the University of Derby. The Learning Enterprise, Virgin Care’s training arm, will deliver the course having been accredited by the university’s validation team.
The provider said the foundation degree was an “important step” towards having highly qualified staff for contract to run Bath and North East Somerset Community Health and Care Services. Virgin Care also runs children’s services in Wiltshire and across Devon.
“This qualification can be the first step on a career in health and social care”
Stuart Rennison-Price, director of people and service at Virgin Care, said: “We are delighted to have our first 12 colleagues from the South West join this innovative course to improve their skills and grow within the organisation.
“This qualification can be the first step on a career in health and social care, which can lead to colleagues qualifying as registered professionals,” he said.
Doing so, would help Virgin fill a “skills gap” that it had identified in the workforce, reduce staff turnover and save money on recruitment costs, he added.