University reopens building as skills hub for hundreds taking on frontline roles with the NHS

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Birmingham City University is to reopen its Seacole Building to help train hundreds of students taking on frontline NHS roles in the fight against COVID-19.

The University will make its City South Campus and state-of-the-art facilities available for hundreds of students to help prepare them to take up extended work placements within the NHS to help bolster the workforce.

The building will now be used as a Skills Hub to help students nearing the end of their studies, current NHS staff and returning employees to learn key techniques and skills needed in the frontline battle against coronavirus.

Staff from the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences, including colleagues from the Defence School of Healthcare Education, will deliver skills-based training to help teach new and essential techniques.

The University has been working closely with the skills teams in local NHS Trusts, especially University Hospitals Birmingham, to ensure the skills taught are in line with Trust requirements, and that their training makes the biggest impact in supporting patients.

Nearly 300 student nurses from the University will be taking up positions within the NHS to support the nation-wide effort to stem the spread of the virus.

Approximately 95 per cent of the University’s student nurses, currently in the last six months of their studies, have offered their services for an extended placement with the health service.

Placements will operate for six-months, and students will be employed directly by the NHS but also remain students at the University. Some midwifery and Allied Health Professional students will also be taking up roles.

Professor Louise Toner, Associate Dean at Birmingham City University’s Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting on lives right across the country and it is no secret that the NHS needs to increase its workforce to help meet the anticipated demand from the virus.

“Opening up our Seacole building gives us the chance to support people taking on these roles with extra specialist training and access to our facilities to help them to deliver the vital care that is so important right now.

Skills sessions will be taught implementing social distancing guidelines.

The £71 million Seacole Building was named after Mary Seacole, the celebrated Jamaican-born nurse renowned for her support for British soldiers during the Crimean War.

The building features mock wards, as well as skills, practices and care enhancement facilities (SPACE).