Virgin Care to deliver new foundation degree to health and social care workers

Virgin Care, an independent provider of NHS and local authority services across England, has announced a new partnership with the University of Derby allowing it to deliver innovative foundation degrees to its health and social care teams across England.

The Professional Development (Health and Social Care) Foundation Degree is a work-based course designed for clinical support staff and care assistants aspiring to become assistant practitioners working in health and social care.

The higher apprenticeship was developed by the University of Derby in partnership with employers, and can be the first step towards a registered profession for people with experience of working in health and social care roles.

The Learning Enterprise (TLE), Virgin Care’s training arm, will deliver the course for the first time in 2017 to Virgin Care’s existing health and social care teams, after being accredited by the University of Derby’s validation team.

The first cohort will study from Virgin Care’s education base in Farnham, Surrey with a second group planned for the South West later this year.

Virgin Care is due to begin delivering a new contract to integrate health and social care services in Bath and North East Somerset in April and already delivers Children’s services in Wiltshire and across Devon meaning a large number of the company’s 7,000 colleagues are based in the South West of England.

The University commended Virgin Care’s training team during the accreditation process, saying they were impressed with the proactive response to national guidance, and the professionalism of the education solutions it had developed and run over the last few years.

Stuart Rennison-Price, Director of People and Service at Virgin Care, said: “This qualification can be the first step on a career in health and social care which can lead to colleagues qualifying as registered professionals, helping to fill a skills gap we’ve identified in the workforce and allow our colleagues the chance to achieve their full potential.

“We are delighted to have been able to partner with the University of Derby to deliver this innovative course, and ultimately to improve the care and service we provide for the communities we serve across England.”

Dr Paula Holt, Dean of the College of Health and Social Care at the University of Derby, said: “We are extremely pleased to have developed this qualification, which will give health and social care workers in England the education, skills and competence needed in order to pursue a career as an assistant practitioner.

“The University of Derby is proud to be working in partnership with Virgin Care to deliver the programme and we look forward to seeing clinical support staff and care assistants from across the sector taking up this innovative course and achieving their full potential.”

About The Learning Enterprise

The Learning Enterprise is Virgin Care’s training and development arm, delivering statutory and mandatory training, apprenticeships and other professional development courses for colleagues working in Virgin Care’s NHS and social care services across England, providing apprenticeship courses.  In 2016 TLE became just one of 22 organisations accredited with Skills for Health’s Quality Mark, with inspectors saying the service offered a flexible programme of learning, adding that Learning Enterprise’s use of the Care Certificate in its programmes should be highlighted as national best practice. 

About the FdSc Professional Development (Health and Social Care) course

A work-based course designed specifically for clinical support staff, and care assistants working in health and social care aspiring to be assistant practitioners, developed in partnership with regional employers. The course is delivered as part of a ‘higher’ apprenticeship, and it is already running successfully elsewhere in the UK.

This degree offers opportunities to develop knowledge and skills.

At the same time learners will:

  • Develop the theoretical underpinning for new and established practices
  • Apply these skills in the workplace/clinical setting
  • Undertake professional development, within an inter-professional team
  • Identify opportunities for self-reflection, future learning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) needs.
  • Develop specialist knowledge and skills in the apprentices own work area.

More news & media...