Aston film premiere escalates ambition

27 April 2008 – for immediate release

The Midlands Health Academy (MHA), a partnership of health sector employers, universities and colleges committed to providing education for employment, will hold a special film premiere at Aston University in Birmingham on Wednesday, 6th May from 11.30am.

Students from the School of Life & Health Sciences at Aston University have appeared in a series of films highlighting how education helped them to gain employment in the health care sector. All the students enrolled on Aston University courses to develop the skills and knowledge they need to offer a quality service to people and to make a difference in their chosen professions.

The videos are accessible via the internet and were set up as part of the ‘Skills Escalator’ web tool which went live in January 2009. This provides people with an easy to follow guide that lists every job in the NHS from surgeon to hospital porter, and identifies the best route to take to get involved in each profession. The films are being used by schools and colleges and at a variety of careers focused events.

Dr Julia Brown, who is Director of Business and Marketing at Aston University’s School of Life & Health Sciences, said: ‘The MHA was initially developed through a partnership between Aston University, the Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust, Birmingham City University and Sutton Coldfield and Matthew Boulton colleges when pressures on the current NHS workforce were acknowledged. For example, there is an ageing population in the NHS and a large number of staff will retire in a short time span leaving a gap in staffing. In addition, new workforce development plans and new roles in the NHS are highlighting the need for training courses to meet needs.

‘The MHA aims to tap into the community’s rich pool of talent in search of the next generation of NHS workers. It can provide thousands of local people with the best advice about movement into and between each educational institution at the appropriate level and also gives guidance on employment within the NHS.

‘We are committed to delivering quality training opportunities for young people, current NHS staff wanting to acquire new skills (for staff development or promotion), returners to work and for local people who may be unemployed or who may be considering a career change. We are not just doing this through educational programmes but also through apprenticeship programmes, work placements and work experience opportunities and by working with The Learning Hub to offer a PCT based Activate Programme. The underlying aim is for education providers and employers to work together to benefit the local health economy.

‘Participants at the event will be able to see how to use the Skills Escalator, watch some of the videos and have their say in the future direction of the MHA. We will also be welcoming representatives from our new partners - South Birmingham and Walsall colleges and Wolverhampton University.’

To book a place at the event contact j.y.brown@aston.ac.uk



For further press information contact Sally Finn on 0121 204 4552 or email s.l.finn1@aston.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

• The £85,000 video project was funded by the Birmingham, Black Country and Solihull Life Long Learning Network (LLLN), which aims to encourage collaborations between employers and educational institutions in order to meet an existing skills gap.

• The LLLN grant also enabled the MHA to buy the Skills Escalator ‘webtool’.

• For further information about Aston University visit www.aston.ac.uk and for the Midlands Health Academy www.midlandshealthacademy.org.uk.