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EM3 supported Care Skills Centre opens with Immersive Tech helping students train in health and social care

Last updated 28 September 2023
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Angela Richardson MP, Sally Dicketts and Kathy Slack opening the Care Skills Centre

Students and healthcare professionals are benefiting from using the latest high-tech immersive technology to learn how to handle real-life health emergencies, thanks to a new Care Skills Centre opened in Guildford, supported by EM3 investment.

Angela Richardson MP for Guildford joined EM3’s chief executive Kathy Slack for the formal opening of the new industry-standard facilities at Care Skills Training Centre at Guildford College where they were treated to a tour of the facility which includes a simulated hospital ward, a fully equipped residential environment and an impressive high-tech 360-degree virtual immersive learning space.

Kathy Slack, Chief Executive Enterprise M3 LEP, said:  


This is what employers want – training that is innovative, up to date and which delivers first class nurses and care workers with the skills and confidence gained from working in real life settings.

We know that our greatest skill needs are in nursing and care.  Today has shown me how our investment of £424k can help deliver what our economy and employers need for the future. Hearing how motivated students were from this new style of training was so impressive.

Kathy Slack OBE , Chief Executive, EM3

The facility was designed in partnership with Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Health Education England and Skills for Care. The investment to Activate Learning by EM3 has enabled the creation of a simulated hospital ward, a flat for practising care in the home and a high-tech 360-degree immersive environment projecting a range of real-life scenarios from being in an operating theatre to understanding the anatomy of the human body.

As well as students studying health, social care and public services courses, nursing professionals from Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Surrey and Borders NHS Trust also train at the centre.

Angela Richardson MP said:

Guildford College is already an establishment of great repute when it comes to the quality of training it offers its students. Pair that reputation with the business expertise of Enterprise M3 LEP, the experience of Activate Learning in offering students in Guildford a solid stepping stone in life, together with the generosity of key local businesses and you get a new facility, right here in Guildford which capitalises on the greater challenges of our day and brings great promise and innovation the Surrey, and indeed the whole country.

Angela Richardson MP , Member of Parliament for Guildford

After welcoming speeches were given, guests (including those from Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust and Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust) were invited into the facility where Activate Learning’s Chief Executive Sally Dicketts, along with Angela Richardson, MP and Kathy Slack, Chief Executive of Enterprise M3 LEP proceeded to cut the official opening ribbon.

We have worked hard with a number of NHS Trusts across the Surrey region to provide real-life, work placements for students within care settings and this is invaluable to our learners.

With the addition of this new state-of-the-art Care Skills Suite, our students at Guildford College will be able to take what they are learning within real-life care settings and develop their skills further.

This development is part of our wider strategy to engage with local employers and identify the areas where there are skills gaps within the workforce and provide the training and education that will support the workforce of such a vital public service for years to come.

Sally Dicketts , Chief Executive, Activate Learning

EM3 originally identified the need to support the training of additional health and social care workers to fill employment and skills gaps pre-COVID-19.

The LEP’s Skills Advisory Panel (SAP), which brings together employers, business support organisations, universities, colleges, other education providers and local authorities, heard at a recent meeting that the sector continues to face challenges recruiting and retaining experienced care workers, attracting young talent, and in increasing the gender diversity of the workforce.

The SAP discussed how to support the sector by working to raise the profile of care roles, emphasising the benefits and progression in this rewarding sector, and highlighting new qualifications like T Levels which open up opportunities to train in the care.

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