Home  > Boards and Committees > Employment and Skills Board > Call for more people to take up free health and care courses aimed at boosting income

Call for more people to take up free health and care courses aimed at boosting income


Call for more people to take up free health and care courses aimed at boosting income

There is still time for people on Universal Credit and looking to boost their income to take part in a skills project providing skills in demand by employers in the health and care sector.

The Health and Care Sector Work Academy offers courses for those out of work or in low income jobs. The skills provided are matched to what employers want, increasing the chances of people finding work or moving on in their careers. With the large amount of demand by employers in the sector for skilled staff, people who have completed the courses are finding success in boosting their income and careers.

People are being encouraged to find out more about applying to the courses, free to learners, via the City College Peterborough sign up page: Contact-Us – City College Peterborough

Courses that have been delivered to date include the Care Certificate, Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care, Dementia Care, L3 Adult Care Diploma and Health and Social Care L2.

The courses recognise the needs of people on low incomes by, for example, providing free care for dependents, where cost might normally put people off applying. Free meals during course time also provide convenience and save learners money.

The pilot project was developed by the Combined Authority and is managed by the  Cambridgeshire and Peterborough by the Combined Authority but  funded by the Government’s Department for Work and Pensions as part of the opportunity to tender for ‘Innovation Pilot’ money, only available to Combined Authority areas.

Most of the courses have been delivered by City College Peterborough, although a range of other providers are offering courses too.

The impact of the project can be seen in the examples of people who have joined the programme. Some have been out of work for long periods and some have progressed within the industry to management level roles. This has not only impacted positively on their lives, but also to the end users that they are servicing.

 Case studies from City College Peterborough:

Laura Dun Green

Laura started a Health and Care Sector Work Academy (HCSWA) course while she was based at Lapwing Court, an assisted living care provider in Peterborough. When Laura started the course, she said that ‘she lacked confidence and found it a struggle to interact with new people’ and she had never been in paid employment since leaving school and becoming a mum.  

Whilst on the course, Laura gradually gained confidence in her skills and abilities as well as understanding the values that are required to secure employment in the health and care sector. By the end of the course, Laura achieved her Level 1 Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care qualification and the basic theory underpinning the Care Certificate.

Laura was apprehensive about applying for roles and attending interviews but was supported with completing an application form and interview practice by a HCSWA Mentor. With the support of the HCSWA Recruitment Manager, she went on to secure employment at Philia Lodge Care Home in Peterborough as a Care Assistant.

The HCSWA gained positive feedback from the interview with comments from Philia Lodge that Laura ‘was a breath of fresh air’.

Laura said that dealing with the impact of Covid-19 has been particularly challenging but that all the Philia Lodge staff have been very committed in their care to residents.

Laura won ‘Learner of the Year’ at City College Peterborough’s annual Celebration Event the ‘Celebration of Learning’, which was held at Peterborough Cathedral.  She was also nominated for a Great British Care Award in the ‘Newcomer to Care’ category in 2019 and won the Individual Learner Award at the Festival of Learning in 2019.

Laura is currently completing her Level 3 Award in Health and Care and her Manager has confirmed she has been enrolled into the Level 5 Leadership and Management in adult care course, which she will start straight away.

Laura said her experience at the Academy had been very positive. She said: “I will never be able to thank any of you enough for everything you have done for me. If it wasn’t for the Academy I would still be struggling with my anxiety and depression and still be unemployed.”

She has attended Buckingham Palace’s Garden party in May 2022 as a reward and recognition for her achievements.

Other learners who have benefitted are:

Ian Barrington: Ian has worked in different fields and has also volunteered in healthcare. After suffering an accident in 2005, Ian became paraplegic. Ian’s passion for caring for people led him to study the Level 1 City & Guilds in Preparing to work in Adult Social Care at City College Peterborough, in the Health and Care Sector Work Academy. Since qualifying with a Level 1, Ian has now gone on to study the Level 2 and is now employed by HMP Peterborough as an Administrator. Ian’s goal is to help people with disabilities to understand that being disabled isn’t the end of living, by motivating and encouraging them in social and physical activities.

Ian is also training for the 2024 Paralympics.

Virginija Nikalauskiene: Prior to enrolling onto the Level 1 in Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care course Virginija was unemployed and was looking for a job in adult social care. Virginija was keen to improve her knowledge in adult social care to help her to secure employment and after completing the Level 1 course, she enrolled onto the Level 2.  Gaining the knowledge and qualifications strengthened Virginija’s chances of employment and she went on to secure a job as a Domiciliary Care Worker.

Tina Pannell: Tina was unemployed and receiving Universal Credit prior to enrolling onto the Level 1 in Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care. Tina enjoyed the course and was keen to develop her knowledge further and signed up to the Level 2.

Tina felt that the small classes were beneficial, and the course has helped her to secure a role as a Domestic with opportunities to was as a Carer in a Day Care facility. She would like to progress to a Care Assistant and is also now studying the Level 2 Certificate in Principles of Dementia Care.

Deputy Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and chair of the Combined Authority’s Skills Committee, Cllr Lucy Nethsingha said:

“The Health and Care Sector Work Academy is a pilot project and a lot of learnings have already been taken from the scheme so far. But what is certain is that it has made a big difference to the lives of many people who have participated in it, helping them into work or giving a boost to their careers. As these case studies show, as well as supporting higher earnings, a chance to study at the Academy has given many people a boost to their confidence, aspirations and wellbeing, which is so often the case when people get the opportunity to upskill.

“I would encourage anyone on Universal Credit and interested in working in health and social care to find out more before this scheme closes.”

To find out more, please visit: Contact-Us – City College Peterborough