Bluebird Care staff to get bespoke training from NRC

Northern Regional College will deliver free end of life care training for Bluebird Care staff through the Department for the Economy’s Skills Focus Programme.

Northern Regional College will deliver free end of life care training for Bluebird Care staff through the Department for the Economy’s Skills Focus Programme.

The Department for Economy has made upskilling and reskilling training a priority to close identified skills gaps and help grow the economy.

Skills Focus training, which is 100% funded and will be available until March 2022, facilitates collaborative working between business and further education colleges including Northern Regional College to provide bespoke training for businesses to meet their specific needs.

Health and Social Care lecturer Anne-Marie McAleese

Bluebird Care, which has offices in Coleraine, Holywood and Lisburn and Down, works with individuals and families who require personalised care in their own homes.

Marie Donaghy, Business Development Manager at Northern Regional College’s Coleraine campus, explained that the College had been working closely with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust to develop the training.

She explained: “With so many health and social care professionals and their families directly affected by the pandemic, we have been working in close collaboration with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust’s palliative care team to identify best practice and develop content in this accredited qualification for those working or interested in developing skills in end-of-life care.

“We piloted a 12-week course in end-of-Life care last term, to provide additional support for families and professionals. This was well received, and further provision is planned.

Marie Donaghy, Business Development Manager at Northern Regional College’s Coleraine campus

“The course content is relevant for anyone providing end-of-life care and support in health, residential, domiciliary care and palliative care settings so we were able to tailor it to suit the specific needs of Bluebird Care staff.

“Thanks to the Skills Focus initiative funding, we can deliver the accredited course to Bluebird staff online and help close what has been identified as skills gap.”

Health and Social Care lecturer Anne-Marie McAleese will deliver the Palliative Care course to Bluebird Care staff throughout Northern Ireland from early October.

She said it will explore the communication around death, dying and bereavement, as well as policy and available support services.

She continued: “This can be very difficult for people to talk about but there is a growing demand for this type of course to help people explore sensitive issues.”

Anne-Marie said that it is important for families to open the conversation around end -of-life care and for local businesses and employees to have the skill set to offer help and support.

She said: “End-of-life care is an important conversation for all of us to be aware of and not just at time when we feel end of life is near.

“This course can benefit so many both personally and professionally and it’s important to know that you don’t have to be employed in care work to do this course.

“The course is delivered in a warm, compassionate and supportive way and helps us reflect on how we feel about death and dying, increasing our understanding of how others may feel depending on their circumstances.

“The course will have participants explore the multi-disciplinary approach to end-of-life care in Northern Ireland, looking at the range of services that address an individual’s physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs.”

Palliative Care Week (September 12-18) aims to raise awareness of the difference palliative care can make to people with life-limiting conditions, carers, and families.

Urging other businesses and staff to get involved, Anne-Marie added: “It is important to raise awareness of this local provision in palliative care week where may people will want to learn more about end-of-life care or enrich their professional skills.”

For further information on the palliative care training or to learning how Northern Regional College’s Business Engagement Team can provide tailored training for your business, go to

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