THE UNIVERSITY of Cumbria has been praised for the innovative ways that it provided higher education during the pandemic.

Sir David Behan, chair of the NHS' Health Education England, paid a recent virtual visit to the institution and heard about the experiences of students.

The tour included a practical demonstration of the simulation suite which Sir David's organisation helped to fund, where radiography and ultrasound students hone their scanning skills.

The virtual reality suite and simulators allow students to become familiar with anatomy in a realistic, clinical setting without the need for a patient or volunteer.

Sir David said: “It’s been inspiring to see how the University of Cumbria has risen to new and unexpected challenges.

“It is clear that the university is putting a huge amount of work in to provide the best possible experience for students, working collaboratively with partners. They have achieved a lot in a short space of time because they care so much about what they do and the people they support.”

Alison Hampson, director of the Institute of Health, at the university, said: “We showed Sir David how we respond to employer needs by developing advanced qualifications such as recent bespoke programmes for our partner NHS Trusts and Cumbria County Council.

“Apprenticeships are another route offered by the institute.

"Most recently we launched an innovative paramedic apprenticeship with seven English Ambulance Trusts to upskill their existing workforce in only two years.

“Our partnerships help us to be more effective in finding creative solutions.”