St Giles Hospice has welcomed 23 teenage health and care workers of the future to its annual summer school in Whittington.

Each year the hospice gives students aged 16 to 18 the opportunity to learn more about what it’s like to work in the care sector in a wide range of career paths including nursing, medicine, health care assistants, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

The summer school runs for five days over three weeks in July, and includes study days, the chance to meet professionals from the hospice, hospitals, care homes and community services, as well as a mini work experience placement in the hospice.

It offers pupils an introduction to the careers and values associated with health and social care and end-of-life care, and helps them to broaden their personal skills, improve confidence and learn about team-working and task management.

Head of Education and Skills at St Giles Hospice, Theresa Barker, said that the summer school was one of her favourite times of the year.

“It’s wonderful to see the pupils come in and develop over the three weeks, both as individuals and as a group. I find it so encouraging to see their passion, enthusiasm and inventiveness and to hear their laughter,” she said.

“They really engage and are so committed to getting as much as possible out of their experience. Everyone gets the opportunity to meet the St Giles team and we are delighted to have welcomed back Beth Woodward, one of our first students who is now at medical school, to tell our latest pupils about her experiences and how the summer school has helped her.”

The St Giles Hospice summer school has been running for seven years and over that time 115 students who have just completed their GCSEs or who are in the first year of their A level studies have taken part.

Rhys Thornett, who attended this year’s summer school, said it had been very informative and he had enjoyed his time at St Giles. “People have misconceptions about hospices but St Giles is a really friendly atmosphere and people who go there for care treat it as their home,” he said.

“I would like to become a doctor and summer school has taught me more about what’s involved in healthcare and the importance of teamwork and interacting with the patients’ families. I’ll be taking everything I have learned into my future studies and would definitely recommend the summer school to anyone who is considering a career in medicine.”

Fellow pupil Angel Nield, from Austrey, near Tamworth, said: “I’ve learned a lot about teamwork which is really important when you’re working together as a big multidisciplinary team and I’ve taken away a lot of really useful knowledge and experience which will be useful to me when I go for interviews for medical schools and jobs in future. It was a really valuable experience and I’ve already recommended it to my friends.”

Details and application forms for next year’s summer school will be placed on the St Giles Hospice website by the end of 2019 and if you have any further queries in the meantime please email or call 01543 434533.

PICTURE CAPTION: Summer school students with St Giles Chief Executive Emma Hodges (right), Training Coordinator Helen Harper (left) and Head of Education and Skills Theresa Barker (second left).