Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been shortlisted for a national award for the creation of an educational facility to promote careers within the NHS.

The LIFE Centre (Learning Inspiration for Future Employment) was officially opened earlier this year and is situated at Chorley and South Ribble District Hospital. It is the only facility of its kind in the country.

The facility includes features such as mocked up ward areas, a mobile educational unit, augmented reality training and 360 degree virtual reality headsets in a cinema room. The centre is a flagship project which is set to inspire, educate and support a wide range of students from the age of five upwards to promote careers within the NHS. The development of this facility has only been possible with funding support from Health Education England and the Cumbria and Lancashire Local Workforce Action Board.

The LIFE Centre has been shortlisted for a national Health Service Journal (HSJ) Award in the category of Widening Participation for the impact that it has been and will continue to make on NHS careers; particularly reaching children as young as five years old and young people who may be interested in such careers.

Jackie Higham, Widening Participation Manager at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals led on the development of this facility and ensured that it was built to maximise the space and learning opportunities for students and young people. Jackie said: “We are so pleased that our facility has been recognised nationally through being shortlisted for this award. The aim of this widening participation facility is to highlight the importance of careers in the health sector, and inspire students to undertake a career within the NHS. I am thrilled that all of the hard work and development of the LIFE Centre has paid off. It is an absolutely brilliant facility which is going to make a huge difference to our community and provide young people with an opportunity to learn in a real life setting, which will really help to promote both clinical and non-clinical NHS careers.”

Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals said: “We are absolutely delighted to be receiving well deserved recognition for our fantastic new LIFE Centre, which will provide students and young people with a fun and interactive place to learn about a career within an NHS profession. This new facility will make a real difference to the local community and NHS organisations more broadly, so we couldn’t be happier that we are able to provide, with funding and support from Health Education England and other local partners, this amazing facility based at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.”

Winners will be revealed at a ceremony at the Intercontinental London hotel on 21st November.