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A new innovative and inspirational education facility to benefit the people of Lancashire and South Cumbria

9th April 2018

A new, innovative and inspirational educational facility is set to open to benefit people across Lancashire and South Cumbria. This community facility will be available to other hospital and community healthcare centres across the region to use as part of our shared efforts to attract and develop a workforce who will help ensure residents across the Lancashire and South Cumbria health and care system receive the type of care they need.

Launching on the 27th April 2018, the LIFE Centre (Learning Inspirations for Future Employment) is a flagship project which is set to inspire, educate and support a wide range of students from the age of five upwards to promote a career in healthcare with the NHS. The development of this facility has only been possible with funding support from Health Education England and the Cumbria and Lancashire Local Workforce Action Board.

The LIFE Centre is situated at Chorley and South Ribble District Hospital and includes features such as mocked up ward areas, a mobile educational unit, augmented reality training and 360 degree virtual reality headsets in a cinema room.

The new LIFE Centre will be opened officially on the 27th April at 3pm with further dates being released where LIFE will be open to the public. Open days will include an introduction to the facility, a tour of the building and a chance to see some of our students in action using the various features of the facility.

The exciting new learning environment consists of several exciting and innovative features such as:

  • Mocked up ward areas including an A&E department, triage room and x-ray room; which contain decommissioned hospital equipment to enable students to experience what it’s really like to work in a variety of professional roles. All of these rooms contain cameras which link up to education rooms in the facility where students can watch and learn from what is happening.
  • A Mobile Education Unit, which will be available to visit local schools and colleges to provide easier and more flexible access to healthcare career and education opportunities.
  • Virtual reality headsets in a ‘cinema room’ where you can view 360 degree videos and experience medical situations first hand such as going in an air ambulance, being inside a theatre or exploring anatomy.
  • Whiteboard walls where ideas can be shared, as well as interactive TV boards where you can pause footage to draw on the screen e.g. circle an error when viewing the footage from the ward areas.
  • Augmented reality training using iPads to view various human organs and learn how they work, and the use of QR codes to locate body parts around the centre and “build a body”; perfect for younger children.
  • Jackie Higham, Widening Participation Manager at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals has led on the development of this facility and ensured that it was built to maximise the space and learning opportunities for students and young people. Jackie said: “The aim of this widening participation facility is to highlight the importance of careers in the health sector, and inspire students to undertake a career within the NHS. I am thrilled that all of the hard work and development of the LIFE Centre has paid off. It is an absolutely brilliant facility which is going to make a huge difference to our community and provide young people with an opportunity to learn in a real life setting, which will really help to promote both clinical and non-clinical NHS careers. The centre will include involvement of local charities that will be helping us to develop our outdoor garden space, as well as local drama students and make-up artists to create real life scenarios for our students to experience. We will also be working with a lot of disadvantaged students to ensure that they are provided with the same opportunities from our services.”

    Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals said: “We are absolutely delighted to be opening this new facility which will provide students and young people with a fun and interactive place to learn about a career within an NHS profession. This new facility will make a real difference to the local community and NHS organisations more broadly, so we couldn’t be happier that we are able to provide, with funding and support from Health Education England and other local partners, this amazing facility based at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.”

    Laura Roberts, Director, Health Education England - North said: “Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and other local healthcare organisations have recognised the importance of actively reaching out and engaging the local community to help attract a local workforce, committed to meeting the health needs of Lancashire and South Cumbria communities. This facility will enable the NHS and other partners to demonstrate and engage people from all ages in showing the excitement, rewards and challenges of a career in healthcare. We have been pleased to our local health services in realising this high quality and exciting learning facility.”

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