South Devon College is the first college in Devon to have three of its healthcare programmes approved as Higher Technical Qualifications by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.
The Paignton college went through a rigorous 6-month process to gain the accreditation for its Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs): Assistant Practitioner, Nursing Associate and Audiology courses.
Maria Woodger, Assistant Principal at South Devon College said: “This quality mark demonstrates that these Foundation Degrees are of high quality, and that employers and learners can have confidence in them, confidence that they provide the skills that are needed for success.
“The national approvals process took over 6 months to complete, they included gathering a range of supporting evidence from employers and completing a comprehensive mapping activity to each of the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the occupational standards that enable the learner to progress.
The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education is an employer-led organisation sponsored by The Department for Education. Its vision is for a world-leading apprenticeships and technical education system that equips people from all backgrounds for skilled occupations.
This is the second national accreditation for the South Devon College Nursing Associate programme. It was the approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in 2021.
The pre-registration Nursing Associate degree was formalised in 2019 to bridge the gap between healthcare assistants and registered nurses.
The two-year course based at the University Centre South Devon (UCSD), part of South Devon College, is designed to provide a direct route to becoming a Registered Nursing Associate. After two years, students can take the new Nursing Apprenticeship Route or top-up their studies at university to become a Registered Nurse.
The Assistant Practitioner foundation degree prepares students for a career within the NHS or other health and care organisations. It’s an innovative programme boasting connections with a range of placement environments, enabling them to have access to a range of real-life situations in both clinical and community settings.
South Devon College has a strong partnership with national opticians, Specsavers, who take on between sixty and seventy apprentices a year. The apprenticeship pathway runs in parallel with the taught foundation degree, for those already in employment within the sector.
“Not everyone wants to go to university and the apprenticeship programme allows people to go into work and study at the same time. It opens a variety of doors and also gives us the opportunity to grow our own workforce,” explained Sonam Sehemby, Professional Audiology Development Manager at Specsavers.
“It is an accelerated course across 16 months with online learning and 30 hours a week in an audiology business so it’s intense but allows people to join the profession and develop their career.”