In a pilot scheme only available to students from Southern Regional College (SRC), a cohort of cadets from The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Prince of Wales Cadet Scheme, attended their first face to face training session at the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) in Belfast on Saturday 21st October. At the event attended by the Kings official representative for the County Borough of Belfast, Lord Lieutenant Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle welcomed cadets to the inaugural training session.
Working alongside partners SRC and NIAS, the scheme provides an opportunity for young people to access academic study and hands-on experience in the health sector. This includes learning modules and a clinical observational placement within their local health care region. Once they have completed this, cadets submit a portfolio of reflection and gain a completion certificate. They are then supported to take decisions on next steps, which can include a level 2 or 3 related diploma, a foundation degree or an undergraduate nursing or other health professions related degree.
Professor Dave Clarke, Head of the RCN Prince of Wales Cadet Scheme welcomed the launch: “The RCN Prince of Wales Cadet Scheme launched in 2019 and we are delighted to see the scheme extended to Northern Ireland. Across the UK the scheme has made a real difference to the lives of young people, opening doors to careers in health care and teaching vital skills for their future. It has been wonderful to meet the cadets in person in Northern Ireland and hear how they are getting on.”
Rita Devlin, Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland added: “This scheme is a great opportunity for young people who might not normally consider a career in nursing or health care to gain hands-on experience at an early stage. We have worked closely with colleagues in SRC and NIAS to introduce the scheme to Northern Ireland and hope to build on this. Young people are our future, and this scheme will open doors towards a career in healthcare.”
Sara Gilpin, SRC lead for RCN Nursing Cadet Scheme at SRC further commented: “SRC is delighted and proud that our students were able to avail of the opportunity to become the first RCN Nursing Cadets in Northern Ireland.”
“The scheme provides an excellent combination of theory and practical observation in conjunction with the Royal College of Nursing and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, which will truly benefit our students as they make decisions about their future careers.”
“Students shall develop a range of skills essential for working in health and social care such as working in teams, problem solving, time management and prioritising as well as gaining knowledge of safeguarding, person-centred care, dementia, equality, diversity, basic life support and moving and handling.”
“Upon meeting the cadets, the staff team were struck by their excellent cooperation, compassion and enthusiasm from the first day of the scheme. We look forward to seeing them develop throughout the course and hearing what impact this has on their future.”