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Students Given Employability Boost by Two Health and Social Care Conferences

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University of Worcester students were given a unique insight into career pathways in the health and social care professions at two separate conferences at the end of last month.

The University enjoys an excellent reputation in fields such as Nursing and Early Years, and offers a wide range of courses for students wanting to work with children, young people and families.

On January 27, 130 students and staff listened to presentations by, amongst others, Kids Company founder and social entrepreneur, Camila Batmanghelidjh.

Miss Batmanghelidjh, whose charity aims to provide practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable children and young people, shared recent research indicating the impact of neglect and abuse on young brains, and the approaches and attitudes required to work with some of the most vulnerable people in society.

She said afterwards: “I will treasure coming to the University; it was so refreshing to have such dedicated and committed educationalists all in one space. I loved the authenticity of the people I came across.”

The conference as a whole - and the presentations given by Miss Batmanghelidjh and her fellow keynote speaker Gail O’Malley, of Worcestershire County Council – was met by hugely positive feedback from students, and Rose Watson, the University’s Careers and Employability Service Manager, believes that the event opened up plenty of new opportunities for attendees.

“We were delighted with this conference,” she said. “Students and staff alike were able to explore the skills required for positioning in the future employment market, and career possibilities with children and young people by learning from employers and graduates.

“Camila’s speech offered a real insight into the values and qualities needed to be excellent and compassionate workers in the field.”

One of the delegates at the conference was Jordan Bloomer, an Education Studies student. He said afterwards: “I found the conference very beneficial as it was a great way of communicating with people in the field, networking, branching out ideas and gaining insight into all the jobs that you can do after your degree working with young people.

“Listening to the key speakers really gave an insight into topics relating to children and how we can improve and change the landscape for the future.”

On January 29, University students, local sixth form and college pupils and members of the general public with ambitions of working to help children and families were able to gain a better understanding of the professional and vocational courses open to them.

Courses including Occupational Therapy, Youth and Community Studies, Children’s Nursing, Paramedic Practice, Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Psychology were all represented by students and staff who were able to pass on information, answer questions and conduct activities relating to their course.

There was also the opportunity for attendees to find out about the new courses which will be delivered at the University from September 2015, such as Youth Justice.

Jo Lewis, part of the team which helped deliver the event, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to strip away the barriers to higher education, making our courses more accessible to a wider audience.

“The event met all the expectations of the organisers and was fun, informative platform for students to showcase their work regarding their respective courses to potential new students to the University.”