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First UK university to become approved OET preparation centre

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A university in the West Midlands is launching a new course to help international nurses and other healthcare professionals gain the English language skills they need to practise in the UK.

The University of Wolverhampton announced it would be running the online course designed to help people pass the Occupational English Test (OET) from September this year.

“We are excited about becoming an OET preparation centre”

Gill Outterside

The OET has seen a surge in interest from applicants since it became only the second English language test to be accepted by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in November 2017.

Wolverhampton is the first university in the UK to become an approved OET preparation centre since the test, which is also accepted by the General Medical Council, was recognised in the UK.

The university’s International Academy, based at its campus in Telford, will be launching a fully online course this autumn, which can be taken by healthcare professionals around the world.

In the meantime, the university is staging a series of OET workshops starting this month aimed at healthcare professional who want to find out more about the exam and gain some exam practice and advice.

It will also offer a feedback service to help candidates with the written element of the test.

Gill Outterside, OET coordinator at the university, said the organisation was keen to develop further OET courses.

“We are excited about becoming an OET preparation centre and developing our portfolio of courses at the International Academy,” she said.

She added: “Currently, there are no other UK universities who are approved teaching centres since the OET gained approval by the NMC and GMC, and we are looking forward to developing further projects.”

The move follows a commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan for England to ramp up recruitment of overseas nurses to fill widespread vacancies in the short-term.

OET was introduced in the UK in the wake of concern that the only other test accepted by the NMC was preventing competent nurses from take up posts at trusts desperate to plug staffing gaps.

Early evidence seems to suggest OET, which is specific to healthcare and is designed to test the communication skills nurses and doctors use in practice, does have higher pass rates.


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