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Innovative internships to train health care workers in Northern Trust area

Northern Regional College is working with Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) in an innovative partnership to offer paid internships in domiciliary health care.

This initiative encompasses a one-year internship and salary of £20,330 (pro rata) and an opportunity to achieve a City and Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care at Northern Regional College.

During the academic year, interns will attend the College one day each week to develop key skills and gain an understanding of the theory behind the health care practice and spend their placement hours within the domiciliary care service in the NHSCT area.

Locations will include Antrim, Ballymena, Magherafelt, Cookstown, Larne, Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Ballycastle and the Glens. A range of part-time hours posts can be offered and every effort will be made to place students in a location closest to their home address.

The College’s Business Engagement Team has worked tirelessly with local employers to identify gaps in skills development as Business Engagement Officer Marie Donaghy explained:

“Northern Regional College is committed to working with local employers to see where the skills gaps are and then providing the necessary training for applicants so they can secure employment.”

Marie continued: “In December 2021, the College and the Northern Health and Social Services Trust signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate greater co-operation and collaboration in areas of mutual interest, such as education and health promotion. The paid internship is the first tangible result of the MoU and will facilitate capacity building and sharing best practice.

“This is a wonderful example of how the College and local employers, in this instance, the NHSCT, are working together to help close skills gaps and support employment opportunities. We hope the paid internships will create more education pathways to employment in the health care sector and this in turn will improve the provision of health and social care services in the Northern Trust area.”

Health and Social Care lecturer Jacqui McAllister, who is co-ordinating the Level 2 Health and Social Care Diploma, explained that the Level 2 Diploma prepares people for a range of caring roles in the health and social care sector.

“It can be a progression pathway to more advanced Health and Social Care or Child Care qualifications.

“This is an exciting development in collaborative working and will benefit to both organisations, as well as individuals who avail of this opportunity.”

Jacqui added that the course is due to commence in October and that there will be an initial period of training across the College's campuses (locations to be confirmed) before placements get underway.

“Part-time hours may be an option and we will make every effort to place students in their preferred location for placement,” she said.

Amanda Williamson, Head of Domiciliary Care in the Northern Trust, said: “We are delighted with this new initiative that is aimed at encouraging an interest in a career in social care, given the current recruitment challenges across the health and social care sector in Northern Ireland. It is a great opportunity to work in partnership with local regional collages to support Interns with the practical skills to provide much needed safe effective care to the most vulnerable in our community as they study or their Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care.

“It will help to build a skilled workforce for the future and it is also an opportunity for the Interns to see the NHSCT is a great place to work, when they are considering future permanent employment choices on completion of their studies.”

Interested parties should complete the course registration form and a member of the College staff will be in contact to provide further information and answer any queries applicants may have.

Enrolments are open for all full-time and part-time courses at Northern Regional College. For further information and to apply online, go to


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