Oldham College has joined forces with one of the borough's largest employers as part of what has been described as "an exciting new partnership" which is set to boost the local economy.
The Rochdale Road college has teamed up with the Northern Care Alliance Group (NCA) - which oversees The Royal Oldham Hospital - to launch new T Level Cadetships in Health, which will support placements in health careers.
Recruitment is already open for the T Level Cadet course which begins in September and lasts for two years – giving the cadet a qualification equivalent to up to 3 A Levels.
Health placements at the NCA will be more than 335 hours long to ensure learners get a real experience of the workplace.
Oldham College students will receive a package of up to £300 per year, plus a free travel pass, and bursaries are available to help some learners to cover additional costs.
Students will also get the opportunity to volunteer with the NCA throughout their course and will be supported if they wish to join NHS Professionals in paid positions, following successful placements.
At the end of their course, students can include fantastic theoretical and practical experiences on their CVs. They can apply for roles at an NCA recruitment day, move onto an Apprenticeship, or progress into higher education.
Alun Francis, Oldham College Principal and Chief Executive, said: “The Northern Care Alliance is a key employer across the health, construction and digital sectors.
“We were delighted to partner with them to create the resources and curriculum of our new T Level health programmes, and we’re looking forward to working with them even more closely as our students’ progress.
“As well as our strong links with local businesses, our T Levels will be delivered using state-of-the-art equipment in great facilities, and taught by experts."
He went on: “We have a new simulation suite which replicates the hospital and care home environments to aid practical learning before students go onto their placement.
“T-Levels are very flexible and the course curriculum and placements can be tailored to meet the needs of partner employers, ensuring that students have all the skills required to be functioning team members by the time they start the placement.
“If there are other local businesses thinking about offering work placements to students, I would highly recommend they get in touch to discuss our T Levels offer.”
Donna McLaughlin, Director of Social Value Creation at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, added: “As one of the largest employers in Oldham, working with Oldham College allows the NCA to upskill local people, providing new routes into local job opportunities and allows us to engage more closely with the community.
"Our social value ambitions are an extension of our commitment to place-based leadership and I’m very pleased and proud of the progress that we are making, including this partnership with Oldham College, in spite of some of the biggest challenges we’ve ever faced during the last year.
“As an employer, T Levels help us to diversify our workplace by reaching students who may never have considered the NHS as a job route. They’re also a great way to develop specialised skill-sets and showcase unfamiliar roles. We are very excited to begin this journey with Oldham College and look forward to welcoming students through this scheme.”