Billiey Mckeown is from the first cohort of Reading College students to have completed an innovative 18-month teaching programme at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
The initiative takes teaching out of the classroom and into a busy and challenging real-world work environment.
Through access to specialist equipment like training mannequins, and with the help and encouragement of specialists from fields as diverse as radiography to midwifery, over 20 students gained invaluable on the job experience.
Billiey was so inspired by the programme that she applied to do a degree course in Adult Nursing at West London University, and has been offered a place there starting in September 2019.
She says that her experiences at the hospital “Touched my heart. It opened up a bit more about what you can do. It’s not only about being in a classroom but what you would do outside if you were in the real world.”
Staying local is important to Billiey as she continues her studies, and she has made valuable contacts through the programme. Billiey says:
“Some of the teachers here have said ‘if you want to do a placement here you can come over’, which means I don’t actually have to look that hard for placements, they’re already here.”
And her advice for others thinking about studying Health and social care is:
“I’d say to go for it. Even if they do not want to work with patients, there are other roles that you can do that are actually quite fun. [Health and social care] is basically like an umbrella, it has a lot of stuff underneath it. So, if you decide to change your mind, there’s always opportunities around you."