An innovative traineeship programme, which looks to create the workforce of the future in the West Midlands' life sciences sector, has been hailed a success following the publication of an evaluation report.
During the summer school holidays in 2015, Medilink West Midlands - WMAHSN’s Industry Gateway partner – worked with a local NHS organisation and an SME to deliver the traineeship programme for 20 young people in the West Midlands region. The traineeship uniquely linked the two critical elements that make up the commercial aspect of the life sciences sector: placement within the NHS, combined with placement in a medically related SME.
The eight week programme was developed to give 16-18 year olds an awareness of the careers available within the life sciences sector and help prepare them for the working environment. The programme comprised three elements: classroom study based on employment skills, work placement within a local NHS organisation, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, and work placement within Ophthalmic Diagnostic Services, a specialist ophthalmic company offering services to both NHS and the private sector. This ground-breaking collaboration proved hugely successful, with all twenty students completing the programme in its entirety.
The evaluation report details the programme and shows that the traineeship model provides a true framework for future programmes and the continued link up of the NHS and life sciences industry to support skills growth across an economically critical sector.
Tony Davis, Commercial Director of WMAHSN, said: “Feedback from the students on the traineeship programme was very encouraging, with 85% of the trainees stating that they were interested in a future healthcare sector career. Key to this was offering hands-on experience, incorporating both the NHS and industry placements. All of the stakeholders exposed to the programmes understood immediately how such a skills-based initiative can benefit everyone involved, and has the potential to be the blueprint for future activity in helping to build the future life sciences workforce of the West Midlands.”