A T Level is part of the educational reform that is happening. It's a 2-year programme and where an Apprenticeship does 20 [per cent] off-the-job learning, the T Level will do 20 [per cent] on-the-job learning.
I know that I want to do a paramedic apprenticeship after this, so by doing the T Level industry placement it's really helped me to be able to gain experience.
When we first heard about the T students, the longer placement, I felt this was a really positive opportunity for both us as an employer and them as students. Work experience placements are very different to T levels. With work experience, they do up to 5 days, with [T Level] students, they're coming in for 45 days.
I think it was really positive for our team to have a student for a longer period of time we were able to teach them, they were able to learn, and they can do basic observations and basic care and be a massive part of our team.
I think this is an exciting opportunity when we're thinking about workforce planning, but also it's about working with our local communities.
It's a great way to figure out before you go to uni for 4 years or start your apprenticeship that that's actually what you may want to do for a future career.
The way that we were able to introduce T Levels was by firstly going to some senior level meetings so workforce nursing and midwifery talking about all the different options that we do within work experience but also how T Levels could work for the organisation.
Thinking about the future workforce, we asked who would be in supporting and then once we had that, it was then going having those face-to-face conversations.
Having students for longer, what it's meant for us as a department, as a manager is we've had to give them 2 mentors - this was to cover people's annual leaves the mentors annual leave and also to make sure that the student was always on with their mentor when they come in each week and that was so that we could have continuity with Niamh so she was able to have regular learning and regular training and people knew when she was coming on to shift.
When we first told that we were going to be piloting the placement, it was quite daunting. Being in the emergency department there is quite a lot of responsibility on a daily basis are complete talks like doing observations and ECGs, moving patients to different parts of the emergency department and then just generally helping staff and patients. You learn a lot about the clinical side of things so there's a lot of things that you learn here that you wouldn't be able to learn in a classroom.
The level of commitment from the Trust is we will make sure that they're inducted properly so they're safe to actually be working with patients but also that we're maintaining patient safety as well, so really it is that level of commitment. Yes we will give that placement, we will support that placement for the 45 days and that there is support for that student as well.
The impact for us I think has been really positive because the mentors have had to learn and brush up on their skills, and also they've been getting a reward from that. Because we see that person every week for such a long period of time, we're able to see that what they're learning they're grasping.
As a team it makes us be more aware of our practices of what we're doing.
T Levels definitely support the workforce. If I give an example of the the nursing group, they can come in on a T Level, once they've done that, if they're successful in gaining employment, they could step onto a higher level apprenticeship, do the nursing associates and then step into their nurse training and then can progress their career further from there.
So you've got your Advanced Care Practitioner for example an apprenticeship route.
As a manager looking off students we really value them. I think from an employee point of view they would definitely be up there at the front because you know that they've got the skills that you need and the values that you need.