Inspiring the next generation of care workers

Edinburgh College is inspiring the next generation of care workers by giving local school pupils the chance to experience real work looking after younger children, several years before they’d usually do work experience.

Thirty-one local P6 school pupils have learned about the skills required to work in the care sector and have gained valuable work experience thanks to the new Careers in Care programme from Edinburgh College.

Careers in Care was designed to give P6 pupils an insight into the wide variety of roles available in the care sector, encourage them to develop the skills needed to fulfil the roles and give them real-life experience of working in a professional care environment.

The pupils, from Cornbank Primary School, Penicuik, also got the full graduating experience at the college’s Midlothian Campus to celebrate their completion of the six-week course. Edinburgh College Principal Annette Bruton presented them with scrolls.

As part of the course, pupils attended college one day a week and were given an opportunity to use the skills they had learned during a one-day work placement at a local nursery at the end of the course.

During their work placement, the pupils observed nursery workers and worked alongside them to provide care to the nursery children.

Through the course, pupils were able to experience what it’s like to be a college student, learn about the qualifications needed to get into the sector and to develop skills that will provide a solid base for whichever career they choose in the future.

The course, delivered by Edinburgh College lecturer Angie Thomson, focused on introducing the pupils to the possibility of a career in care at an early stage. It was developed in response to the Scottish Government Blueprint for 2020: The Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland, which will see a rapid national expansion in the childcare sector to meet increased demand.

During the course, the pupils heard from Edinburgh College lecturers on topics including the role of men in childcare, working in dental care and the importance and benefits of outdoor learning. The pupils also heard from Rachel Coombs from Midlothian Council on the range of care roles available.

Angie Thomson said: “With the government’s increasing commitment to ensure that all children get the best possible start in life, there has never been a better time to begin developing and inspiring the next generation of care workers. A career in care can be so rewarding and the course aims to educate young people about the career options available to them. The Cornbank pupils were fantastic throughout the programme. They were really interested in learning about the different roles available in care and what it takes to work in the industry. They were outstanding during their work placements and were able to put the skills they’d learnt on the course into practice – it would be great to see some of their faces on our Care courses in the future.”

Cornbank Primary School teacher Sarah Denholm said: “The Careers in Care course provided an invaluable experience for our P6 learners. They regularly reference their positive experience in class and utilise the universal skills they developed with Edinburgh College. The course got the children to recognise the ownership they can take in their future development, equipping them for the world outside of primary school.”