Having worked as a bed manager for six years, it was quite the change in direction for NHS worker Kelly West when she joined the Estates department as a planning support worker. Whilst both roles require problem-solving and organisational skills, Kelly had to swap her clinical knowledge for an understanding of construction materials and environmental building regulations as her responsibilities changed to developing and managing capital projects.
To support her career development Kelly started an HNC in Construction and she has already gained a promotion. The College’s university-level construction courses are delivered at the Centre for Higher Technical Innovation and Maritime Skills, where new state-of-the-art technology is utilised thanks to the College’s role as a member of the South West Institute of Technology. Being part of SWIOT has supported the College in its ambition to thread digital skills throughout its entire curriculum, and staff are looking at new ways to deliver its construction courses aided by the power of digital.
Kelly said: “I felt this course would provide a good baseline knowledge to develop an understanding of real-world industry standard practices, which I could apply to my projects within my job and the projects I was working on.
“The lecturers are really knowledgeable about the industry and they understand how fast this industry can change due to a variety of socioeconomic factors, and they factor this into what we learn and we’re given plenty of opportunity to investigate other things that could have an impact on the industry. When working on long-term projects such as some of mine, it is essential to fully understand what it means to be sustainable and how this could rapidly change in the future.”
Kelly, who also has two young children, said she is fortunate that the course is being funded by her employer having recognised the benefits of supporting her to develop these skills.
Kelly’s manager, Carlo Cinque, Estate Development Team Leader at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, said: “The growth in Kelly’s confidence over the past year has been fantastic to watch. Whilst she had all the necessary skills for her role, she didn’t have that wider industry knowledge that is useful to have, particularly when speaking with various official bodies.
“For both Kelly and the wider department, the delivery of the HNC worked well. Kelly attends lectures one day a week whereas other providers often require block release, which isn’t practical for the team or for Kelly with two young children.”