Promoting social care as a career pathway into nursing

Virginia Perkins, Associate Director of People and Organisational Development, Springhill Care Group

Springhill Care Group is committed to developing its staff to ensure that the highest standards of care are being offered at all times.

With a HQ based in Lancashire, Springhill has created and built upon outstanding support and exceptional pathways, enabling social care workers to embark on a successful career in nursing.

Jakki Whitehead, Admiral Nurse, Springhill Care Group

Springhill prides itself on being at the forefront of dementia care and an example of outstanding staff development is nurse Jakki Whitehead, who is one of the UK’s 200 Admiral nurses – described as a ‘beacon of excellence within the care sector, providing unrivalled guidance and responsive solutions and innovative thinking.’

Virginia Perkins, Associate Director of People and Organisational Development for Springhill Care Group, said: “Springhill prides itself on being at the forefront of dementia care and responsive service and Jakki is a prime example of a senior nurse passing on quality training and vital skills.

“Springhill is an investor in people, providing a nursing pathway from being a carer to assistant nurse practitioner.

“We enrol our staff onto a continuous professional development programme which includes a comprehensive induction programme. Opportunities for development also include management training and support.”

With three homes across the UK, Springhill Care Group is an award-winning provider currently employing 421 staff. Many staff are studying towards further qualifications.

With strong partnerships with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), one of the region’s leading universities, and links with colleges such as Accrington and Rossendale, many members of staff begin their careers with Springhill, going on to be an assistant practitioner or to develop further along the nursing pathway.

Indeed, Springhill group is working with UCLan to develop a training structure open to staff members at Springhill Care Home in Accrington and Birch Green Care Home in Skelmersdale. Work is also ongoing to secure the same opportunities for staff at Riversway Care Home in Bristol, working with the University of the West of England.

The link with UCLan will initially give staff the opportunity to take the university’s Degree Apprenticeship Assistant Practitioner Programme. Assistant practitioners are qualified to offer elements of health and social care previously only deliverable by registered nurses.

This course was created to help solve a shortage of qualified nurses, to bridge the gap between traditional healthcare assistants and registered nurses.

This will complement the group’s existing offering through which staff can already undertake, for instance, Level 2 and Level 3 diplomas in Health and Social Care delivered by local training provider Lowry Training.

Recently four members of staff, all currently team leaders at Birch Green Care Home, enrolled on the course at UCLan.

Currently there are five members of staff at the Birch Green Care Centre and seven members of staff at Springhill working towards an Assistant Practitioner qualification.

Of the 12 members of staff three are studying with a private training organisation and the remaining nine are studying at UCLan.

Mike Lakins, Head of Learning and Development at Springhill Care Group

Mike Lakins, Head of Learning and Development at Springhill Care Group added: “The staff at Riversway Nursing Home will be following the Nurse Associate Apprenticeship programme which is the same level (five) as an Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeship programme but covers a different syllabus.

“We offer coaching and mentoring for those people who feel that they would benefit from a more tailored and individualised training and development.

“We raise the skills and competencies of all staff to improve our organisation’s performance through investing in economically valuable training and continuous professional development and pride ourselves on being recognised as an Investor in People and receive regular assessments to ensure that we continue to exceed the standard.

“Our nurses have gone on to win awards and because of this we are recognised across the sector as being highly-skilled, knowledgeable and innovative.”


Edel Harris





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