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HRH The Duke of York launches University’s Higher and Degree Apprenticeships


Jan 5, 2017

His Royal Highness The Duke of York visited the North East yesterday (Wednesday, 18 January) to officially launch the University of Sunderland’s new Higher and Degree Apprenticeships.

Attended by key regional employers, existing degree apprentices and civic leaders, the event shared the benefits of this new model designed to build higher level skills and support business growth.

Vice-Chancellor Shirley Atkinson welcomed HRH The Duke of York to the University and following the event commented: “We were honoured to welcome HRH The Duke of York to our University. He is a great advocate of raising aspirations and understands the importance of education, skills and entrepreneurship in supporting, particularly young people, to have successful and rewarding careers. His work to ensure that Britain has the workforce and entrepreneurial culture to remain a global economic leader very much chimes with our own focus and impact at the University and it’s very positive to receive his support and endorsement of our work.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor John MacIntyre, who is leading the University’s Higher and Degree Apprenticeships programme presented the University’s approach and success to date to the assembled audience. He commented: “We have developed our Higher and Degree Apprenticeships by collaborating closely with employers to ensure that the programmes will deliver the skills they need in their workforce. We are about to launch our Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship programme, and a suite of three Degree Apprenticeships in Engineering. These follow on from our very successful programme for the IT industry (the Digital & Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship) which we started in 2015, and we have ambitious plans with more programmes in development to be rolled out later in 2017. These include programmes in Nursing, Paramedic Practice, Healthcare Science, Social Care, and Law.”

In presentations during the launch guests learned how Higher and Degree Apprenticeships enable both large and small organisations to transform their performance by enhancing the skills of existing employees as well as attracting fresh talent, using the apprenticeship levy and government funding.

HRH The Duke of York was also given a tour of the University’s new Living Lab in the recently completed Sciences Complex. The pioneering new University facility is designed to change how healthcare professionals are trained, and how health partners collaborate, to improve patient care in the North East region.

Students of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, including Adult Nursing Practice BSc (Hons), Biomedical, Pharmacy and Paramedic Practice, benefit from teaching and learning in the Living Lab, using the most advanced healthcare-industry simulation equipment in interactive spaces and realistic settings.

HRH The Duke of York met students of the Sunderland School of Nursing and the Paramedic Programme and saw the high-fidelity Weston Simulation Suite in action. A specially created scenario, developed in collaboration with Armed Forces colleagues was played out in the Simulation Suite. HRH The Duke of York met members of 3 Medical Regiment, 251 Med Squadron – based in Sunderland – who are working closely with the University and making full use of the new facilities to provide training of the Paramedic Programme students, which in turn is beneficial to the continuous professional development of reserve soldiers in the Medical Squadron.

The Living Lab is a unique, purpose-built environment that uses advanced hi-fidelity simulation equipment to deliver integrated working between university researchers, staff, students and healthcare and life sciences partners. Laboratories in the Living Lab reflect the various settings of care provision, including a mock hospital ward.

Vice-Chancellor Shirley Atkinson thanked HRH The Duke of York for visiting the University and invited him to unveil a plaque commemorating his visit, then presented him with a piece of glass created at National Glass Centre.

The Vice-Chancellor concluded: “Our Living Lab is unlike anything you will find anywhere else and we’re very pleased to have been able to demonstrate to His Royal Highness The Duke of York our approach and how we are using the latest digital simulation equipment to teach the next generation of healthcare workers.

“We were also particularly pleased to be able to demonstrate the strong collaboration developing with our Armed Forces partners as a direct result of the opening the Living Lab. We want to ensure that those involved with front-line patient care – be they nurses, paramedics, pharmacists or armed forces personnel – are equipped with the skills and experience to meet any challenges they face.”

By Emily