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Skills-training boost for care staff

Sunderland City Councillors Jill Fletcher, Amy Wilson, Graeme Miller, Anne Lawson with Anne Isherwood, Sunderland College principal

Health and social care users in Sunderland will benefit from a new initiative which sees two major organisations build on high quality care services in the city.

Sunderland Care and Support, which provides a range of community social and health care services for vulnerable people, has named Sunderland College as its chosen training provider to ensure its staff are trained to the highest standards.

More than 1,400 people work at Sunderland Care and Support and the company plans to recruit another 150 staff across its services over the next 18 months.

The company supports 6,000 people each week  and provides a wide range of services such as intermediate care, telecare, community equipment, day care, short breaks and support to enable people to live at home in the community. It cares for people with varying needs including older people, children and people with learning disabilities and mental health needs.

Representatives from both organisations met yesterday (Thursday) at Sunderland Care and Support’s Leechmere headquarters to mark the partnership. The event also included people who use the health and social care services and will benefit from the initiative.

Councillor Anne Lawson, chair of Sunderland Care and Support’s board of directors, and Anne Isherwood, Sunderland College principal, signed a strategic partnership agreement which sets out the terms of the relationship.

Sunderland College has worked with Sunderland Care and Support since 2004 to help support the learning and development of staff, and this new arrangement will develop the relationship further by making sure all staff have access to high quality college-delivered training and qualifications.

The college will provide a comprehensive training programme to Sunderland Care and Support staff, including health and social care and business administration apprenticeships, English and maths qualifications, vocational and Continued Professional Development training, and IT training.

A higher level apprenticeship programme in health and social care will also be launched by the two organisations to meet the recommendations of the Francis report and Cavendish review, which have resulted in major changes to the way healthcare is delivered in England.

Cllr Lawson said: “The partnership delivers an annual programme of joint learning and development training that enables social care staff to be trained to a high standard  to support the delivery of joined up integrated care for Sunderland residents. The training ensures our workforce have the capabilities, confidence and skills needed to deliver excellent services to our communities.”

Mrs Isherwood added: “Sunderland College and Sunderland Care and Support share the same fundamental values, and we are both committed to making a positive impact on our local communities through the high quality services we deliver.

“We have had a very successful relationship for many years and by making this long-standing partnership official at a strategic level, we can focus on delivering excellent training to the skilled front-line care staff who support some of the most vulnerable people in the city.”

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