Hundreds of Swansea youngsters had a taste of a future career in health sciences at the first conference of its kind designed to boost the local NHS and life sciences workforce.

Elevate 2015 2Over 200 pupils in Year 11 from Bishopston Comprehensive were invited to a special careers conference highlighting the variety of jobs in the NHS and life science sector – such as laboratory and scientific testing to help diagnose and treat illnesses.

The first Elevate Conference was held at Swansea University earlier this month and it proved a huge success with the Bishopston pupils.

Conference organiser, Bev Wilson-Smith, Advocate for Life Science Skills at Gower College said:“Pupils were able to take part in interactive workshops supported by academic staff as well as industry giants such as GSK and Fujitsu. They had the opportunity to gain an insight into a potential career or even a career they didn’t know existed.”

Hamish Laing, ABMU Medical Director added:“Both ABMU and Hywel Dda health boards face challenges in terms of recruitment. This is not unique to this area but it’s a real problem for us.

Elevate 2015 3“We want to be able to draw on people from our local communities, to encourage them into health and life sciences-related careers so that they want to work in this area and really improve the health of our communities.”

The conference also introduced the Talent Bank; a new and innovative learning experience for those aged 16 years and over who are interested in a career in the medical, healthcare and scientific professions.

Beverley explained: “Research conducted with national and local employers tell us there’s a real need to increase the skills and talent required for their fields of work. With our partners, employers, academia and the NHS, the Talent Bank will provide young learners with access to industry expertise and specialist facilities that ordinarily they wouldn’t be able to access.”

“We’ve also made a start working with health board staff to identify work placements specifically designed to enable learners to gain insight into working in a hospital or health science environment. These placements will also allow learners to support and help – where appropriate - the professionals and teams they are working with giving them real practical experiences. “

Elevate 2015“As a result the Talent Bank will enhance the region’s supply of skills and calibre of talent for the health and life sciences sector.”

Developing local talent and shaping the future healthcare and life sciences workforce is a key part of the ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) project.

The project, to improve the health, wealth and wellbeing of the people of South West Wales, is a partnership involving Swansea University together with ABMU and Hywel Dda health boards.

As part of ARCH, Gower College Swansea will open a new centre in autumn 2016 for 100 Talent Bank learners. To maximise learning opportunities and work place experience the centre will be located between Swansea University and Singleton Hospital.

A Talent Bank open evening event is scheduled for 25th November between 5pm-7pm at the Institute of Life Science, Swansea University for those interested in finding out more.

For further information on the Talent Bank contact Beverley Wilson-Smith: Tel: 07500 668381 or Beverley.wilson-smith@gcs.ac.uk