Coventry University and The Skills Network are developing a new short course that allows adult learners to study flexibly to upskill or retrain to help fill staffing shortages in the health and care sector.
The Healthcare and Professional Skills Level 4 course is a 30-credit module adapted from Coventry University’s existing Nursing and Allied Health Professions Foundation Year.
Students will study online, where and when they want, through The Skills Network platform with a tailored learning plan based on individual work and home commitments and previous learning experience. They will acquire valuable skills and knowledge and be shown a wide range of routes to employment and further learning and development.
The new course responds to an increased focus on delivering care directly in the community and recognises the significant role health and care professions are expected to play in delivering high-quality care by 2024.
The course has received positive feedback from health and care sector institutions, who welcome the additional options for staff development outside of the apprenticeship route. They also see it as an affordable way of getting more people into work to recover from the staffing shortages made worse by the Covid pandemic.
Coventry University developed the new course with funding won through the higher education short course challenge competition delivered by the Office for Students (OFS) and funded to £2 million by the Department for Education.
The short courses trial is a key step in the government’s Lifelong Learning Entitlement, which is set to be introduced from 2025 and will allow adult learners to study more flexibly and work towards a full qualification as both their circumstances and the economy change.
Andy Ginn, associate pro-vice-chancellor of CU London, Coventry University Group, said: ‘The life-shaped delivery of the courses we offer across our CU campuses is uniquely suited to the Office for Students’ initiative to widen the availability of training and skills that support adults returning to higher education through a short course trial.’
‘Key health and care sector body widely support this unique collaboration with our friends at The Skills Network. It aims to create an opportunity for the thousands of learners currently undertaking a health and social care course with The Skills Network to progress to level 4 and potentially beyond with Coventry University.’
Paul Wakeling, executive director of Curriculum and Quality at The Skills Network, said: ‘At The Skills Network, our mission is to make learning and skills accessible to all through the quality of our content, tech and learning solutions. We are thrilled to work alongside Coventry University to develop a short course, providing a flexible and accessible training solution for higher education learners throughout the country and supporting the economy as we work to solve the UK skills shortage.’
The OFS is the independent regulator for higher education in England. It aims to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers.