A collaboration between North West Regional College and St. Petersburg College (Florida) kicked off with a 2-day virtual conference in November 2020, with experts from both sides of the Atlantic talking to students/staff and members of the public about:
- Current Mental Health Policies and Strategies
- A day in the life of a Social Worker
- A day in the life of a Nurse
- The future of Health & Social Care
Experts from various backgrounds including professional health and social care workers (Practical and Professional Nurses, Innovators, Care Provider Directors, Regulatory Body, Social Workers) shared their experiences through a panel debate and responding to questions from the audience throughout both days. With over 100 delegates participating throughout the 2-day conference, and feedback from all involved including moderators and presenters, it was clearly evident that the conference would become a feature in future years.
The next conference was designed and implemented in November 2021 with help from both North West Regional College and Northern Regional College, both collaborating with St. Petersburg College. Similar format via online platform was used, and a range of professionals from varying expert backgrounds presented on the following topics:
- Integrating Health Care Technology with the Aging Population
- Access to Care in 2021 and into the Future
- Implications of the Covid Pandemic on Long Term Health
- Alumni of past students presenting and talking about their experiences of studying at either St. Petersburg College, or the Northern Irish Colleges (Northern Regional College, North West Regional College)
Conference topics that had been selected for both years focussed on the curriculum of our Level 5 Foundation Degree Science in Health and Social Care (a regionally designed qualification in Northern Ireland). The Foundation Degree is a two-year programme that offers our higher education level students the chance to progress to a final year Degree programme at Ulster University; and it supports knowledge and skill development to pursue a career in Health and Social Care, and/or progression to professional Degree programmes such as Nursing, Social Work or Allied Health (Physiotherapist etc).
The collaboration has been successful both years and it has been agreed by all partners that we will plan a further conference for November 2022. Colleges in Northern Ireland are currently deciding on conference topics and will be meeting St. Petersburg College (International Coordinator and faculty staff) in June this year to start planning for another 2-day online conference to be held in November 2022.
Note – Information about both conferences can be found here: