The Welsh Ambulance Service has unveiled a new training facility, the Workforce Education and Development Centre, in Swansea.
The new facility boasts an immersive training room, where simulation technology recreates real-life scenarios to put crews’ clinical skills to the test. It features 360-degree projectable walls, a scent dispersal machine and is temperature controlled to give scenarios the realistic look and feel of actual events.
The facility, on Swansea Enterprise Park, also has ‘smart storage walls’ equipped in a similar way to an ambulance, as well as three classrooms which can open up as one to allow for socially distant learning. It will be used to train colleagues in the Emergency Medical Service and Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service across South Wales.
Andrew Challenger, the trust’s Assistant Director for Professional Education and Training, said, “It has been an honour to lead the Education and Training Team for the last four years and to influence the design of the building. This state-of-the-art facility will enhance the quality of education in our ambulance service, and the immersive training room really is the jewel in the crown.
“The building is contemporary, modern and light which is conducive to the wellbeing of or staff. It really is a milestone in our development as a trust.”
The facility is the eagerly-awaited replacement for the National Ambulance Training College, a former nurses’ quarters in the grounds of Cefn Coed Hospital, which the trust took ownership of in 1998.
Claire Vaughan, Executive Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, said, “Our facility at Cefn Coed Hospital has served us for more than 20 years, but it’s very much of its time. The Welsh Ambulance Service is at the forefront of innovation, and we needed a training facility which reflects our ambition to be a leading ambulance service, nationally and internationally.
“We’re proud and delighted to call Matrix House our new home, and know that the new recruits who come here to complete their training are going to share our enthusiasm.”
Matrix House, which the service shares with Public Health Wales and the NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership, completes a trio of training facilities across Wales, which also includes facilities in Denbighshire and Cardiff. It is also stone’s throw from the trust’s new regional headquarters at nearby Matrix One, and is part of a broader programme of work to modernise the trust’s estate.
Richard Davies, Assistant Director of Capital and Estates, said, “We’re thrilled that this project has come to fruition after many years, and that colleagues and students can finally get to experience the facilities they deserve. I’d like to extend a special thank you to our Estates, Capital and ICT teams, and also to the training team for their patience and can-do attitude throughout.”