South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) formally opened its state-of-the-art education and recruitment centre in Newbury today (Tuesday, 17 October).
The new facility at Bone Lane in Newbury brings three former education centres used by SCAS under one roof, as well as providing additional space for the Trust’s award-winning recruitment team.
Construction work began on a vacant industrial unit in November 2016 and was completed in July 2017. The shell of the existing structure has been transformed and now contains classrooms, office suites, meeting rooms, video studios, an e-learning suite and secure garage parking for Trust vehicles.
The project also included the design, development and construction of a simulation suite – the first such facility for any ambulance service in Europe. In the simulation suite, new and existing frontline clinical staff can be placed inside a range of different training scenarios with responsive, video footage being projected onto every wall around them.
Ian Teague, Assistant Director of Education at SCAS, said:
“The new education and recruitment centre is a fantastic resource for SCAS and will help us recruit and train the additional staff we need in our emergency 999, urgent care and non-emergency patient transport services. By investing in the very latest technologies and training equipment, we can train our clinical staff to a level and in a volume of numbers that other ambulance trusts are simply unable to match.
This will deliver real benefits to the patients our staff look after, as well as make the Trust operate more efficiently and cost-effectively in terms of recruitment and retention.”
Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Berkshire, Paul Dick, formally cut the opening ribbon at 12.30, after which guests were able to witness a series of demonstrations including driver training, how some of the latest training equipment and technologies will be used and the innovative new simulation suite.