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Health Academy expands

06 June 2018

James Paget Health Academy Logo


The James Paget University Hospital has teamed up with Lowestoft Sixth Form College and East Coast College to offer young people considering a career healthcare the opportunity to get an insight into the roles available.

Following the successful launch of the Paget’s new Health Academy earlier this year the scheme is now being rolled out to other local colleges.

After initially linking up with East Norfolk Sixth Form College on the Senior Health Academy, the scheme is now being taken up by Lowestoft Sixth Form College and East Coast College

Staff from the James Paget’s education and practice development team are set to visit the colleges next week to talk to students about the Academy, what it can offer and how they can apply.

Anyone at the college interested in a future career in healthcare, whether as a nurse, doctor or other health professional, will be invited to apply for the Academy, which will formally start in September 2018.


Those successful in their applications will continue their studies at the College but will be released for a few days over a six month period to take part in sessions at the hospital’s on-site Education and Training Centre.  The sessions are designed to give more information about potential careers, opportunities to progress and what working in a busy hospital is like.

Sharon Crowle, Head of Education and Practice Development at the James Paget, says the Academy is another way the hospital is looking to encourage more people into nursing and associated careers.

“We want to attract people into healthcare, which can be a rewarding profession in itself but which also offers lots of opportunities to progress.

“There are a number of routes in at a range of educational levels, with several members of our team starting as domestic workers and progressing through the education, training and qualifications we can provide.

“You could complete a nursing apprenticeship, become a nursing or physician associate, an assistant practitioner, an allied health professional or join our support team – there are many roles and plenty of opportunities.

“We want to widen participation by young people who may have an interest in healthcare and a desire to find out more about what it entails. The academy will teach life skills, resilience and communication techniques as well about more about the roles themselves and working at our hospital. There will be recognition for those taking part, including certificates to mark completion of the Academy programme, and we hope this will be a valuable and recognised step into working at the hospital.”

There have already been Junior Health Academy sessions, where up to 40 local high school students are given the opportunity to attend the training centre at the hospital to get an insight into the routes into the health profession.

Ian McLean, Head of Maths & Director of STEM at Lowestoft Sixth Form College said;

“Lowestoft Sixth Form College are really excited to be teaming up with the James Paget to give our students the opportunity to learn some valuable skills and gain experience in the healthcare profession.

“Students are already looking forward to getting started on the programme and to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.”

Debbie Pring, Lecturer in Health & Social Care at East Coast College said; “This is an exciting opportunity for East Coast College Health and Social Care students.  It will enable students to experience a range of different roles in the James Paget setting to gain an understanding of how the hospital functions and works together with ‘behind the scenes’ and front-line staff. 

“East Coast College is committed to raising aspirations for our students and inspiring them to look outside of their comfort zone, exploring opportunities that will enable them to achieve their full potential. 

"The Academy will enable them to experience and gain knowledge of professions that they may have never previously considered and encourage them to focus their career progression, whether that be into an apprenticeships, employment or higher education within the health care sector.  The Health and Social Care team are passionate about inspiring and empowering our students to develop the skills and qualities that will enable them to become excellent practitioners of the future.”

The hospital is also working with the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (neaco). Neaco is a unique collaboration all the higher education providers in East Anglia and operates under the campaign of Take Your Place. The programme supports young people in years 9-13 to plan their future education. 

Andrew Underwood, a Take Your Place Higher Education Champion, has been working with the James Paget University Hospital to shape this project for students looking to go into the health profession.

He says; “Young people from Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft have benefitted from the project and it’s great to see that more students will have the opportunity to access the programme.

“To so many young people, higher education is all about university. However, as this project shows, there are some fantastic alternatives to university such as Higher and Degree Apprenticeships.

“The James Paget is at the centre of the local community and the associated Health Academy will offer young people from the local area an opportunity to gain valuable experience in healthcare.”