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Scottish EdTech Firm to Help Overseas Nurses Improve English Skills

A Scottish EdTech company is partnering with the City of Glasgow College to provide English language courses for international nurses seeking work in the NHS.

The partnership, led by Glasgow-based Klik2learn, hopes to address the urgent demand for nurses in the UK and will provide new digital courses which can be carried out either with tutor support or independently.

Klik2learn said Passport to Employment in Healthcare will help international nurses prepare for the Cambridge Occupational English Test (OET), a prerequisite of working in the NHS.

Unlike current courses, Passport to Employment in Healthcare goes “well beyond practices to pass the OET,” according to the Glasgow firm. The course uses speech recognition tech to provide realistic scenarios which prepare nurses to speak confidently to patients, relatives and interact with colleagues.

The course also enables them to fine-tune their professional and informal spoken skills and provides real-time feedback.

Through a partnership with the Centre for Voice in Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, nurses will be also able to hear a variety of English accents and practice their ‘bedside manner’ to communicate re-assurance and empathy to patients.

Another feature of the course will be a 3D simulation activity of an interview scenario for a nursing post. To develop the simulation, Klik2learn has worked closely with the SimVid experts from Glasgow School of Art under the direction of Professor Steve Love.

Anne Attridge, CEO of Klik2learn, said the course should be ready to launch later this year and will help international nurses improve their English language skills.

She said: “It’s clear that the NHS is under pressure to recruit more skilled health professionals than ever before. With support from the UFI VocTech fund we partnered with City of Glasgow College and are on target to launch the course in May 2021.

“It’s important that anyone coming to work in the UK has all the vital English Language skills they need, not just to pass an exam but to do their job with confidence, regardless of their language background.”

The number of vacant nursing roles across the UK was high before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The last several months have overstretched healthcare professionals and laid bare the country’s reliance on international health workers.

According to the Nuffield Trust, 5,000 migrants a year are needed in England alone if the government is to meet its promise of delivering 50,000 extra nurses by 2025.

International recruitment in the NHS, already impacted by Brexit, saw international recruitment fall off a cliff in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has meant restrictions in travel, face-to-face language learning and closure of test centres, meaning the UK will need to recruit even more from abroad in the future, at a time of global shortage.

Christopher Khan, Project Manager at City of Glasgow College, added: “We are delighted to be continuing our successful partnership with Klik2learn in broadening our online programme offering.

“Our college recognises the importance of developing our digital and blended learning portfolio that will not only meet the changing study and skills needs of students, but also open up new opportunities for our learners.”

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