Celebrating staff who have achieved vocational qualifications


Celebrating staff who have achieved vocational qualificationsThe Western Trust Vocational Training Team held their Annual Awards Ceremony recently to celebrate the achievements of over one hundred and twenty staff who completed a vocational qualifications during 2017.

Western Trust staff, as well as learners from the Belfast HSC Trust and Lakeland Care, in Omagh were presented with their certificates by the Western Trust’s Chief Executive, Dr Anne Kilgallen. Dr Kilgallen said: “I am delighted and privileged to attend this annual awards ceremony and present certificates to the learners.  With the demand on our health service increasing year on year it is vitality important that we nurture and grow staff currently working within a variety of health care settings.  I wish to pay tribute to all the staff including Margaret Mullan and Paul White who have taken their first steps towards a career in nursing for their dedication and commitment and wish them well for the future.”

Miriam McFadden, Western Trust Vocational Manager said: “Health and Social Care is constantly changing and developing and the Trust’s vocational training team works extremely hard to respond to these changes. The Team provide staff with training and development that will equip them in their existing and new roles across a number of social care, hospital and community care settings.  We strive to deliver vocational qualifications to front line staff throughout the Trust to ensure they have the skills, capacity and ability to effect change and improve care to patients and clients.”

Miriam added: “I would like to thank the Trust’s Practice Nurse Educators, representatives from Becton Dickson for their input into the training for the clinical skills and their managers for supporting the learners to develop in their job role.  Also thanks to the tutors from the North West Regional College and South West College for facilitating the Essential Skills courses and the Open University tutors for the delivery of the Open University K101 - Introduction to Health & Social Care (Level 4) Programme.”
Margaret Mullan, Healthcare Assistant, Clinical Decision Unit, Altnagelvin Hospital spoke at prize giving ceremony and talked about her journey from Healthcare Assistant to student nurse having undertaken a vocational qualification and then successfully securing a place on the Open University BSc (Hons) Degree in Nursing.  Paul White a Porter at Altnagelvin  Hospital also secured a place on the degree course.

Margaret said: “I started off as a registered childminder approximately 20 years ago however, always in the back of my mind was my wish to study further and obtain qualifications to become a nurse or social worker. I was successful in applying for a support worker post in the Western Trust and worked with the Family Support Team supporting Pre-school children for five years. I completed the UU Access Diploma in combined Studies in 2007 at the North West Regional College and was offered a full time position as a support worker for adults with acquired brain injuries. The experience I gained there for over four years was invaluable and in 2011, I worked as a community health care assistant caring and supporting children with complex healthcare needs to remain at home with their families. This was an extremely challenging job but I suppose was the beginning of my journey to becoming a registered nurse. I have worked for nearly three years as a Band 3, Healthcare Assistant in CDU and during my initial assessment
for the ProQual Level 3 Certificate in Healthcare and Social Care Support I met Miriam who encouraged me to consider a career in nursing through the Open University. I was not aware that I could access a nursing qualification this way and it was fantastic as I could remain in my job and study to be registered nurse at the same time.  The support I received from Miriam and the staff in CDU has been incredible and I am now six months into my BSC in Nursing Degree and enjoying every minute.

Margaret added: “I would encourage anyone considering a career in nursing to follow your dreams and never let age stop you from reaching your full potential.  As healthcare assistants or support staff we have years of experience, knowledge and skills which is exactly the qualities needed in health care today. You will be supported every step of the way.”

Thank you to NIPSA for making a contribution towards the catering that was provided for the event.