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nurses day

International Nurses Day: ACL Essex Offers free health and social care training for all

To mark International Nurses Day, the adult education provider is highlighting its free health and social care courses and qualifications.

ACL Essex is highlighting its range of health and social care courses and qualifications, available through the Nightingale Care Bursary. International Nurses Day takes place on 12 May every year, on what was Florence Nightingale’s birthday, the bursary’s namesake.

The bursary, funded by Essex County Council supports people to enter or progress their careers within the health and social care sector. Learning opportunities are delivered by ACL and include apprenticeships, diplomas, and certificates at levels 2 through to 5.

Since Nightingale started, over 350 individuals have undertaken a certificate or diploma course in a health and social care related subject. These courses include End of Life Care, Understanding Autism, Leadership & Management and Adult Care.

Apprenticeships are a great way for both new and existing staff to gain a qualification whilst applying what they learn to the workplace. More than half of ACLs health and social care apprentices are undertaking programmes at the higher levels, supporting them to become managers within their organisation. Many of these joined the sector as level 2 apprentices and have worked their way up through the ranks.

Lisa Jarentowski, Principal, ACL Essex, is encouraging people to take up this opportunity. She said: “Working in health and social care is such a rewarding job. We can help people into the sector, whether you have no experience or want a career change. There are plenty of career paths in the health and social care sector, from care home manager to working in the NHS.

“We also support employers to train their staff. We offer free training and development courses, which can help them to progress their career or simply support with continued professional development.”

Ashini Herath, a learner, took a course at ACL Essex through her employer. Ashini wanted a career in the health and social care sector to fulfil her childhood dream of becoming a nurse. She said: “I love being a carer; you can learn something new every day. With my Nightingale course, I’m proud that I improved my communication, presentation and leadership skills. I also achieved the foundation knowledge I want for my nursing degree.”

Another ACL Essex learner, Linda Farmer, took a course to gain more knowledge of the sector. She is Deputy Manager of a home care service and supported living service. She said: “I have achieved Levels 2, 3 and 4. I have gained valuable insight, which has enabled me to carry out my role effectively. I am proud to be gaining these qualifications. They help me fulfil my role and support and mentor colleagues. I like to have the qualifications to progress within my career, should the opportunity and desire present itself.”

People who take a free health and social care course with ACL Essex can also gain financial support. A travel bursary can support people to get started. There is a learner fund available, to help with study materials such as laptop and Wi-Fi. A bike fund also encourages people to cycle to their place of work.

Post-apprenticeship job seekers can also gain support to find the right job from Essex County Council’s Your Career Matters campaign.

To find out more about free health and social care courses through the Nightingale Care Bursary, visit

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