A partnership to provide a vocational training college alongside a day care centre is to be set up by Cheshire East Council in conjunction with Congleton High School in what is seen as a ground-breaking partnership between youth education and adult social care.
Students will have their learning environment next door to a community day care centre for older people where they will have the opportunity to take part in a range of vocational training courses including health and social care and professional catering.
The college will be based at Mountview in Congleton, where a day care centre for older adults is run by Care4CE, Cheshire East Council’s in-house adult social care service provider. It will be a separate wing of the building and will remain independent of the day care centre.
But day care users will be able to take advantage of the college facilities including its hair salon and café which are also intended to be of benefit to the wider older community and social care service users. Students will also get the chance to develop social activities in which day care users and the wider community can participate.
The centre will link the younger generations with the older sector and neighbouring communities whilst training and preparing the next generation of carers and professionals for the health and care sector.
It will develop a thriving and vibrant community resource that will develop to meet the changing needs of the community.
A variety of accredited bespoke courses will allow students to study a range of vocational health and social care disciplines. Pupils from Congleton will be offered places at the college where they can access employment and training opportunities.
The Leader of Cheshire East Council, Councillor Michael Jones said: “Intergenerational activity is known to be extremely effective as a support mechanism for adults and an excellent learning experience for young people.
‘I am delighted that in conjunction with The Congleton College we are able to provide such an innovative scheme that is intergenerational.
‘This is about providing an environment and education facility that will help us to build a well-trained and qualified workforce for the future.
‘It will enhance their chances of employment locally and benefit the local care and health sector with home grown professionals for the future.’
Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member for care and health in the community said: ‘With more older people requiring social care and support services, we will need to develop a generation of young people who are highly trained in providing that care.
‘I want to stress that the core provision of high quality day care at Mountview will not change and that dedicated Care4CE staff will continue to provide care for service users in a distinctly separate section of the building.
‘But I am confident that this arrangement will prove to be of enormous benefit to all.’
The Council and college have ambitious plans for its continued development involving the voluntary and faith sectors and other health and social care providers to extend and develop community resources in and around the community.
The College has already engaged with local businesses and employers in order to best match their needs for training and education.
David Hermitt, Chief Executive of CMAT and Executive Principal of Congleton High School said: ‘This will be an excellent learning and training facility for our students studying for vocational qualifications.
‘It will give students the opportunity to study in a real working environment that is not a school and will bring a much-needed college provision to Congleton.
‘This really is a unique and exciting development allowing young people to study in and around a working facility and to develop their skills to ensure they are as prepared for work as they can be.’
The plan for the college at Mountview approved by the Council’s Cabinet this week and it is intended that the first phase of the college will come into use next September.
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