Pioneering learning centre launched

A new learning centre for nurses is the first of its kind in Wales.

The centre at our Hillbury House offices was officially opened by Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths, who is also the Welsh Health Minister.

The aim of the centre is to provide personal and professional development for nurses and care practitioners..

The centre is within the offices of Smartcare, the training arm of Pendine Park, and is the first of its kind to be located within an independent sector care organisation.

The initiative was made possible by a partnership including the Royal College of Nursing, the Wales TUC and the Betsi Cadwaladr Trust.

Seed corn funding of £1,600 came from the Welsh Government via the Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF).

Pendine Proprietor Mario Kreft was an enthusiastic advocate of the collaboration. He said: "Our people are our most valuable asset.

"What weíre trying to do here is work with partners to ensure that Pendine people and others have the very best opportunity possible for their professional and personal development, and particularly for their learning.

"We are opening a centre here within our teaching care centre where any nurse will be able to make an appointment and come and use the facilities, use the internet, use the computers and all the other resources at their disposal."

"Anything that we can do to bring the nursing family together and get nurses from the independent sector working more with the NHS and vice versa is a good thing."

"What's available here is very much along the lines of what weíre doing in our care facilities where we provide learning hubs.

Elizabeth Rees, a Learning Representative with the RCN, said: "About a third of our members are in the independent sector so this is a very important step and weíre really delighted that itís happening"

"It was a sentiment echoed by Barbara Hale, who works as a development officer with the Wales TUC.

She said: "Itís not just about staff training. Itís about personal development as well, and supporting people if they have gaps in their skills, literacy, numeracy, computers. Itís all about supporting people really and giving them options."

Lesley Griffiths said: "As a staunch Trade Unionist, I know of the important role of Trade Union learning representatives. The issue of lifelong learning and upskilling is something very close to my heart.

"I hope that other organisations follow Marioís lead on this - you donít need a lot of space. With a little bit of funding you can make a big difference."