Purpose-built science lab addresses healthcare skills gap

Leeds Sixth Form College, part of Luminate Education Group, is aiming to bridge the healthcare skills gap with a new state-of-the-art science laboratory.

The college has received funding from the T Levels Capital Fund in a bid to boost pupils’ awareness and interest in the medical sector. 

The specialist facility has a private consultation room and pharmacy practice room, which has been purposely designed for the college’s two new pioneering courses: Pharmacy T Level and Access to Medicine. 

Students are encouraged to get a feel for working in a healthcare environment with areas designed to practice dispensing medications and one-to-one consultations.

Rachael Booth, Principal at Leeds Sixth Form College, said: “We hope our new bespoke science laboratory will inspire the next generation to consider a career in healthcare. We’re committed to putting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at the top of our agenda, as it assists in problem-solving and innovative learning which fuels success across a variety of disciplines.

“Recent figures revealed that 84% of the UK healthcare sector were suffering from a lack of skilled workers. This figure, combined with the immense pressure that the industry is facing due to Covid-19, means that we have a responsibility to empower young people to pursue healthcare roles, by showcasing the wide range of incredibly fulfilling and rewarding careers within the sector.”

Lab 1
Lab 1

The innovative Access to Medicine course will launch in the new academic year, which has been designed to help plug a national shortage of doctors. The fast track, one-year programme is aimed at adult learners who want to progress to university to pursue a medical career but lack the required A levels.

T Level Pharmacy Services will be running from September 2023, which fuses academic theory with on-the-job experience. This two-year course is developed in partnership with various local pharmacies to ensure the content matches the industry needs.

The college has recently received a £2k grant from The Ogden Trust to launch an astronomical society.

David Shelton, lecturer at Leeds Sixth Form College, commented: “This enrichment activity allows students to experience stargazing and build skills in using telescopes and cameras for astronomy. The project is directed as students mainly from under-represented groups in STEM, including women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to pursue a career in STEM, especially as our world becomes more reliant on STEM careers with productions of vaccines and exploring the universe. We have been able to buy two specialist telescopes and a camera, which we will use to develop skills in observing the night sky. Through this project, we hope to set an example for inclusivity within STEM.”