A state-of-the-art training facility for healthcare students has opened in New College.

The Swindon & Wiltshire Innovative Technology Care Hub - SWITCH for short - uses cutting-edge technology to help future doctors and nurses learn how to treat and care for patients.

It is hoped that this futuristic way of learning will best prepare the T-Level students for all sorts of different situations they will face in real hospital environments, and improve their understanding of various health conditions.

There are expected to be around 3,000 new jobs in the health sector by 2025 along with 52,000 new and placement jobs by 2035.

Some of the people taking on those jobs are likely to have learned the ropes here in Swindon in a section of the Queens Drive campus that looks more like a hospital than a classroom.

New College is working in partnership with the Wiltshire College and University Centre to develop SWITCH sites on both campuses, with funding from the Department of Education.

Swindon Advertiser: Dr Michael Mosley opens New College's SWITCH training facility for medical studentsDr Michael Mosley opens New College's SWITCH training facility for medical students (Image: Newsquest)

Project lead Jane Davidson said: "It's a very exciting project for both colleges, who have been able to enhance their environments and invest in innovative technology.

"We started work last August and had to have it completed by March 30, which was quite a challenge, so the staff worked incredibly hard to meet that deadline.

"The main aim is to upskill the workforce with simulation technology and meet skills needs.

"What a fantastic opportunity for our current learners and learners of the future who will learn by doing rather than watching."

Wiltshire College's vice-principal, Jo Grenfell, said: "It's been an absolute pleasure to work on this ambitious and innovative project with New College to develop staff for health and social care employers."

TV presenter and health journalist Dr. Michael Mosley added some star power and authentic expertise to the launch event. 

Dr Mosley gave a talk about his life's work and took questions from eager students.

He said: "I applaud what you're doing here. It's so important to keep up to date with what's going on in the healthcare sector.

"[SWITCH] looks brilliant and very authentic, it takes me back to my days as a medic."

Swindon Advertiser:

New College principal Carole said: "I think it's fantastic, a real step-change in the training we can offer in health and social care, based on what employers have told us they want.

"I'm really keen to expand the use of this immersive technology to other areas of the curriculum."