PLANS are moving forward to open a new health and care academy in Powys later this year.

The Powys Health and Care Academy (HCA) will offer face-to-face and digital learning opportunities through four schools – research, development and innovation, a school of leadership, a school of volunteers and carers and a school of professional and clinical education and training – to employees in the health and care sector, as well as those looking for a career in the sector and to volunteers and unpaid carers who support the sector.

The project, being overseen by the Powys Regional Partnership Board, will be based at Basil Webb Hall, on the Bronllys Hospital site, and will open in the autumn, with plans to develop similar facilities across the county over the next couple of years.

Its first group of learners will be young adults who are being offered work placements with Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB), Powys County Council’s (PCC) social services department and Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO) through the UK Government-funded Kickstart scheme.

The partnership are working together to improve the health and wellbeing of the county’s residents.

PTHB director Julie Rowles said: “Our ambition for the academy is to become an exemplar provider of rural health and care education, training and development.

“We want the health and care sector in Powys to be the sector of choice for those who are looking to upskill and/or embark on a new career. We want people to come to Powys to develop, up skill and enjoy a career here.

“The work currently taking place at the Bronllys campus is the first of many state-of-the-art physical spaces that will come online in the coming years as we develop the Powys Health and Care Academy.”

Councillor Myfanwy Alexander, PCC’s portfolio holder for adult social care and the North Powys Wellbeing Programme, added: “As we in Powys recover from Covid-19, the welfare of our residents has never been more significant. We need a thriving health and care sector to ensure this, as well as to provide vital career opportunities.

“The Health and Care Academy is a fantastic opportunity for local people to develop the skills they need to build successful careers in the sector. I am particularly pleased to see the opportunities provided for carers to turn their valuable experience into career opportunities.”

Carl Cooper, chief executive of PAVO, said: “I’m really excited about the plans for a school of volunteers and carers within the Health and Care Academy. It represents an important acknowledgement of the significant role that volunteers and unpaid carers play in the care and support of people and communities.

“We are committed to ensuring that volunteers and carers in Powys receive the help they need and want to provide their essential services.”

The Powys HCA is part of a Wales-wide response to increasing access to education and training across the health and care sector and is being developed with the intention that it will be the core provider in the county by 2027.