Scottish education technology firm Klik2learn has helped the country’s largest college to create a digital English language course to help overseas nurses preparing to join the NHS.

Glasgow city college will roll out the online course from May to assist nurses based around the world to develop the skills they need to access jobs in the UK and other English-speaking countries.

The course has been developed in partnership with Scottish EdTech, Klik2learn, and the UFI Trust, and seeks to address the urgent demand for nurses in the UK which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19 has highlighted the UK’s reliance on international health workers and exposed the current shortfall in the NHS. A third of nurses first entering the UK register in 2019-20 trained outside the UK, according to a workforce study by Southampton University.

The digital course will be available both as an app for self-study and with tutor support, through the company’s Digital Learning Hub.  Passport to Employment in Healthcare, will help international nurses prepare for the Cambridge Occupational English Test (OET), a prerequisite of working in the NHS. The OET is the world’s only international English language test specifically for healthcare professionals and is accepted as proof of English proficiency for visas, study, registration and employment in healthcare.

Unlike current resources, Passport to Employment in Healthcare, goes beyond practising to pass the OET.  It uses speech recognition technology in realistic scenarios to prepare nurses to speak confidently to patients, relatives and interact with colleagues. It enables them to try out their professional and informal spoken skills and get real-time feedback through the software.

Another unique feature of the course will be a 3D simulation activity of an interview scenario for a nursing post. Klik2learn has partnered with SimVid experts from the Glasgow School of Art under the direction of Professor Steve Love, to provide the immersive experience.

Anne Attridge, CEO of Klik2learn, said: “It’s clear that the NHS is under pressure to recruit more skilled health professionals than ever before. With support from the Ufi VocTech fund we partnered with City of Glasgow College and are on target to launch the course in May 2021. It’s important that anyone coming to work in the UK has all the vital English Language skills they need, not just to pass an exam but to do their job with confidence, regardless of their language background.”

Christopher Khan, Project Manager at City of Glasgow College said: “We are delighted to be continuing our successful partnership with Klik2learn in broadening our online programme offering. Our college recognises the importance of developing our digital and blended learning portfolio that will not only meet the changing study and skills needs of students, but also open up new opportunities for our learners.” According to the Nuffield Trust, 5,000 migrants a year, are needed in England alone if the government is to meet its promise of delivering 50,000 extra nurses by 2025. International recruitment in the NHS, already impacted by Brexit, saw international recruitment fall off a cliff in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has meant restrictions in travel, face-to-face language learning and closure of test centres, meaning the UK will need to recruit even more from abroad in the future, at a time of global shortage.