A free short course that comes with a guaranteed job interview, that’s got to be worth a look, right?

That is exactly what’s up for grabs at Stockton Riverside College and Redcar and Cleveland College, with bespoke courses starting this month.

Fancy working in care, industrial jet washing, or even medical administration with phlebotomy? These are just some of the unique study opportunities now available.

Working directly with employers, all those who successfully complete one of the short courses are promised that all-important interview.

It’s a formula that worked for Amy Addison who has secured a job as an apprentice medical administrator.

Amy Addison
Amy Addison

Signing up to the sector-based work academy at Redcar and Cleveland College, Amy, 20, said: “I thought it sounded like an interesting course and I might learn some new skills. I didn’t expect to come away with an apprenticeship.”

Having worked in the care industry after leaving college, she said: “I had seen blood nurses going into people’s homes. It’s not the sort of job that you would normally see as an apprenticeship.”

During the intensive course, delivered in partnership with a range of employers, she picked up a variety of new skills including health and safety, teamwork, customer awareness, mental health, dementia and learning disability awareness, the use of clinical equipment and a level 2 qualification in phlebotomy.

“It was amazing that I was offered the job, I was so proud of myself,” she said. “Now I can’t wait to get started.”

The colleges’ Group Head of Pre-Employment, Partnerships and Projects, Joanne Scott, said: “Amy’s success is a great example of what can be achieved.”

The next Medical Administration Academy starting later this month has six vacancies on offer at different medical centres across the region. Other exciting opportunities include a Working in Industrial Jet Washing Academy with Well Services Group (WSG) and partners. On this six-week programme, candidates will complete five days of work experience in addition to CCNSG, confined space training and risk assessment.

By establishing a link between employers and potential employees, Joanne said: “The short courses are almost a try before you buy opportunity. The learner gets to link up with the employer, learn more about the job, what it involves and the skills involved, while the employer gets to know the learner. By the time it comes to the interview some may decide it is not for them, while others are keen to continue and achieve employment.”

As for those who might not be offered a job, they have additional skills and qualifications to add to their CV to help them go on to find other employment.

Joanne said: “When we work with employers, they often say, we can upskill people but we need them to have the softer skills that unfortunately some people lack. Not everyone knows how to be punctual, to work in a team or work with customers, also not everyone has had an interview. These are all vital skills that we help develop as part of the course.”

Joanne Scott
Joanne Scott

The new sector-based work academies follow in the success of the colleges’ care academies, working with local authorities and care employers to give people the skills to start work in care and helping to plug an industry skills gap.

Mum-of-two Elizabeth Smith is among those to have reaped the benefits. Taking part in the Redcar & Cleveland Care Academy, delivered in partnership with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, the Department for Work and Pensions and local care providers, she gained the skills and confidence to secure a job with BJP Home Support.

The 30-year-old from Redcar said: “I was quite nervous at first because I hadn’t worked for five years but once I got there I loved it. We learnt about the different needs of the clients, food hygiene, first aid, all of the basics really.”

Elizabeth was stunned to be offered a job. Now working as a care assistant, she said: “I’m enjoying it. It is nice to know that you are helping to make people’s lives a bit better and easier.”

“I didn’t have much confidence before, particularly around new people. The course boosted my confidence and it gives you a kick start.”

Elizabeth Smith
Elizabeth Smith

Esther Anifowose agrees. The 33-year-old mum-of-two took part in the Care Academy at Stockton Riverside College and now works as a support worker with Creative Support.

Determined to give it her all, she said: “The course gives you everything you need to start work, the tutors are really supportive and it was fabulous.”

Working part-time to fit around her children, Esther said: “I love it, it is unreal. Every day is different. Some people need a helping hand, some people want to go shopping and others might just want someone to talk to. You don’t realise how much people need other people, it is lovely to be able to be a part of that.”

Want to know more? Here are five sector-based work academies starting at Stockton Riverside College and Redcar and Cleveland College this month:

1) Care Academy, Stockton Riverside College

Awareness session – Mon Jan 13, 10am-11am

Course dates – Jan 21-March 6, Tues to Fri, 9.30am-3pm

2) Working in Industrial Jet Washing Academy, Redcar and Cleveland College

Awareness session – Mon Jan 13, 10am-11am

Course dates – Jan 20-Feb 28, Mon to Fri, 9.30am-3pm

3) Business Administration with NHS Academy, Stockton Riverside College

Course dates – Jan 13-Jan 31, Mon to Fri, 9.30am-3pm

4) Redcar and Cleveland Care Academy, Redcar and Cleveland College

Awareness session – Mon Jan 20, 10am-11am

Course dates – Jan 28-March 6, Tues to Fri, 9.30am-3pm

5) Redcar Business Administration with Phlebotomy, Redcar and Cleveland College

Awareness session – Mon Jan 20, 2pm-3.30pm

Course dates – Jan 27-March 6, Mon to Fri, 9.30am-3pm

For further information and eligibility details, contact Shirley Diddams on 01642 865561, email employability@stockton.ac.uk or speak to your Jobcentre Plus advisor.