Telford College has opened a new cutting-edge Clinical Skills Centre at its Wellington campus to train students for a wide range of careers in health and social care.

The £430,000 facility was officially opened by Simon Whitehouse, chief executive of NHS Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, who described it as ‘absolutely fantastic’.

The new centre has been created to give T-Level students experience of a realistic clinical environment and includes two ‘skills rooms’ – a four-bed hospital ward, and a two-bed maternity environment.

Sarah Davies, director of health and social care at the college, said: “We have a range of interactive mannikins covering all age ranges, as well as some fabulous cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality equipment.

“All of our health students will get chance to spend some time in the centre, helping to fully prepare them for their work placements and encouraging them to take their studies further.

“The equipment we have in this centre is state-of-the-art, and replicates exactly what our healthcare workers of the future will find in the clinical environment, meaning T-Level students will be fully prepared for the work placement element of their studies.”

Telford College has exceeded its target for health and social care students this year, with numbers more than 60% up on this time last year.

Mr Whitehouse gave a talk to more than 300 college students about career opportunities in the NHS during his visit yesterday, before performing the official opening of the centre.

He said: “The work that the college leadership team are doing here is absolutely fantastic when we think about how we develop a workforce which is going to be deliverers of care going forward in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin.

“Colleagues who have worked with students from here on our wards would say straight away that it boosts confidence because of the experience they have already had with the simulation equipment, and working as part of a team.

“Looking at the simulation mannikins in here, and the anatomy equipment, it’s just fantastic. I think back to my clinical training, and the time when I was a student, and wish I’d had access to something like this. It would have made a big difference.”

He added: “This college is absolutely at the forefront in health and care, and we are delighted to partner with and work with them to look at how we can really think about the workforce, and continue looking after our students going forward.

“Part of coming to events like this is just to get people to open their eyes a bit, and really explore the sort of opportunities there are in the NHS. There are so many.”