New partnership to boost healthcare training across Black Country

The next generation of frontline workers in West Bromwich will benefit from access to unrivalled training facilities and leading academic experts, thanks to a new partnership between Birmingham City University (BCU) and Shireland Biomedical University Technical College (UTC).

In a major boost to public services training across the region, sixth formers at the UTC – the first in the UK with health sciences as its specialism – will make regular visits to BCU’s City South campus in Edgbaston, which trains scores of healthcare, education and life science professionals every year and recently unveiled new multi-million-pound simulation facilities.

The partnership, announced today (Tuesday 30 May), will also provide students with work experience opportunities and special lectures from academic experts at BCU.

“Powering the NHS and other frontline professions is one of our key missions here at Birmingham City University – so I am delighted that we’re forging close links with Shireland Biomedical UTC, a trailblazing school providing outstanding education to aspiring healthcare professionals,” said Professor Philip Plowden, Vice Chancellor at Birmingham City University.

“It’s a real pleasure for us to offer opportunities for the pupils at Shireland to use our facilities and tap into the expertise of our health, education and life sciences academics.

“I look forward to seeing pupils from Shireland enter higher education and carve out successful, impactful careers in a range of crucial frontline roles in the NHS, teaching and social care – with many, I hope, going on to train at our state-of-the-art City South campus.”

Representatives from the university are also due to take on roles on Shireland Biomedical UTC’s board of governors, ensuring the partnership offers the best possible experience for young people, who will go on to play key roles in the NHS, education and social care sectors.

Sir Mark Grundy, CEO of Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust and recipient of an honorary doctorate at Birmingham City University, said: “We are thrilled to establish this partnership with Birmingham City University, providing unparalleled opportunities for our students.

“By leveraging BCU’s expertise, we unlock unrivalled access to training, equipping our learners for successful careers in healthcare and beyond. This collaboration shapes the future of education in an empowering manner.”

“This partnership benefits both Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust and BCU. We bring unique expertise in education, while BCU gains insights into the needs and aspirations of the next generation. Together, we strive for excellence in providing exceptional education.”

Shireland Biomedical UTC and BCU celebrated the start of the partnership this month, with 60-year 12 students visiting the university’s Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences.

As part of the ‘taster day’, pupils participated in science and healthcare-related lectures and practical workshops, getting a taste of what it’s like to study at degree-level.

Kayleigh Steed, Head of Sixth Form at Shireland Biomedical UTC, said: “Experiences like the year 12 taster day at BCU provide our students with valuable insights into higher education and broaden their horizons, helping them to see the educational pathways available to them that align with their career aspirations.

“These opportunities enable students to make informed choices and set their sights on successful futures.”

Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust is a multi-academy trust with a strong presence across the Black Country area of the West Midlands.

Having a steadfast commitment to excellence and belief that every child deserves an exceptional education, the Trust is dedicated to providing a ‘whole education’ which prepares students to thrive both personally and academically. This encompasses a supportive and inclusive environment where students are safe, happy and have ambitious goals for themselves while cultivating a culture of respect for others.

Birmingham City University provides high-quality training to nurses, midwives, paramedics, physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals. It holds the UK’s only contract to train and educate the Armed Forces’ nurses, radiographers and operating department practitioners. In 2021, it celebrated 50 years of teaching social work.

The university undertakes a range of activities to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to access higher education. This includes workshops and subject-specific activities in schools, tailored mentoring for hundreds of learners across the West Midlands, as well as advice and guidance for young people and their families.