Royal Bolton’s NHS trust has launched a major “three year plan” to tackle a "digital skills gap" in the borough.

This comes after Bolton NHS Foundation Trust joined forces with Bolton College and the University of Bolton to create more routes for youngsters into the health service and to train up existing staff.

Together, they have created a new Higher Technical Qualification in Digital, which will be launched this September to give students the skills they need and get them directly into NHS jobs.

Bolton College Principal Bill Webster said: “This reinforces the excellent partnership we have with Bolton NHS and puts the employer at the heart of curriculum design to ensure the best possible fit.

“It’s opened up some great opportunities for our current students to set work experience in a professional setting.”

The Bolton News:

Royal Bolton Hospital

Healthcare staff themselves have helped to develop and lead the digital curriculum at both the college and university, while the partnership also aims to teach new skills to people already working in the NHS.

The partner organisations say that Bolton College students are already being recruited for part time jobs so that they have the experiences of dealing with a busy healthcare environment.

Bolton College head of English, maths and digital Catherine Langstreth said: “Exciting opportunities are to come and this work will help fill crucial skills gaps currently in Bolton.”

The Bolton News:

Bolton College

This way the trust hopes to make sure it has a workforce capable of meeting new challenges as well as addressing the pressure that the hospital services in Bolton and beyond have been under.

Trust director of strategy and transformation Sharon Martin said: “Our digital teams are the backbone to modern health systems and technologies in the NHS.

“Working with the university and college, we want to make sure that at every level there are accessible pathways into the Trust as we look to build a strong, local workforce for the future."

The Bolton News:

The University of Bolton

The trust will now be hosting a range of recruitment and career events focused on digital NHS jobs, with the next due to take place at Bolton College from 9.20am to 12.30pm on Thursday June 23.