UTC Derby Pride Park proud to be a part of the National Digital Skills for Health Project

Wednesday 9th February 2022

UTC Derby Pride Park proud to be a part of the National Digital Skills for Health Project

UTC Derby Pride Park is proud to be a part of the National Digital Skills for Health Project which was officially launched in Sheffield in October 2021 and was attended, both in person and virtually, by staff from UTC Derby Pride Park.

The Digital Skills for Health Project focuses on ensuring that students and staff at UTCs across the country have the latest technology skills that employers in the health sectors need. At UTC Derby Pride Park  we will be combining projects and skills linked to both our specialisms: Health & Life Sciences and Engineering alongside our core curriculum subjects.

UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is spearheading the two-year project, which has been initiated by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust (BDT) – the driving force behind University Technical Colleges (UTCs).

Lord Baker, Founder and Chair of BDT, officially launched the project, said: “Health is going to be a massive employer in the future, and this just doesn’t mean nurses and doctors. It means paramedics, health engineers and, above all, people with digital skills”.

He explained: “The NHS needs digitally competent technicians to help train staff to cope with the enormous amount of patient information which they now have.  There is a staff shortage of over 100,000.  In response to this crisis, this year five UTCs have launched a new health specialism which brings our number dealing with Health up to 13”.

UTCs are government funded technical schools that provide academic and technical qualifications to match the skills needs of regional employers.

The project will gather research from industry experts and lead to a new set of digital competencies and curriculum content for all students studying at UTC Derby Pride Park.

A professional development programme will also be developed for teachers.

Students and teachers at UTCs across the country offering computing and health sciences technical specialism are set to benefit from the initiative. The project is being backed by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Health Education England, Pearson and STEM Learning – the National STEM Learning Centre in York.

Dave Farrell, Head of the Digital Readiness Programme, Health Education England, said: “Health Education England are pleased to be a partner in this exciting new Digital Skills for Health Project which will help to equip students with the skills and experience needed to begin their careers. We hope that many of these students will consider the NHS, where digital skills are increasingly essential in all roles, as a future employer”.

Lee Kirkwood, Associate Principal, UTC Derby Pride Park, commented “This is a fantastic opportunity for UTC Derby Pride Park to be part of the development of digital health skills programmes. I am proud that our students will help to pioneer developing technologies across both of our two specialisms. Being able to combine this new project initiative across both of our specialisms means that our students will be able to not only develop their digital profile but also see and experience the close links between Health and Engineering and how the two specialisms can work together to enhance the future progress in two growing sectors within the East Midlands”.

Students at UTC Derby Pride Park complete GCSE’s and technical qualifications in Digital Information Technology, Health & Life Sciences or Engineering. Students also benefit from completing employer-led projects to not only develop skills within their chosen specialism but also develop their employability skills and this new initiative will only go to enhance the skills that our students develop to help them along their future career pathways.

This is an exciting opportunity for UTC Derby Pride Park to continue their positive trajectory, not only in developing their academic and employability skills, but also allowing the UTC to help our students have the skills and knowledge to support the growing industry requirements within our region.

We look forward to sharing our progress with you in the future.