Dudley College Supports NHS and Local Communities During COV-19 Crisis

photograph showing 3D printer

Tutor Dan Rudge printing PPE components to support NHS front-line workers on the college’s 3D printer - from his living room with his daughters: Amelia aged 4, Georgia aged 2, lending a helping hand.

Dudley College of Technology is helping to support the NHS and communities across the West Midlands by using its state-of-the-art facilities and exclusive equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The college’s Construction Apprenticeship Training Centre (CAT) based at the Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill has been repurposed into an essential facility for recruiting and training staff for the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS). Based just a few metres away from the CAT Centre, the WMAS recently recruited over 600 applicants for call assessor positions to bolster their service response in the current crisis. The CAT Centre has been transformed into a facility where WMAS can train the new call assessors so that 999 and 111 calls can be answered promptly.

Jeremy Brown, the WMAS Trust’s Integrated Emergency and Urgent Care Director, said: “We are immensely grateful to our neighbours, Dudley College, for allowing us to utilise their building at Waterfront Business Park during a national emergency. With our own training academy already at capacity, our recruitment and training teams are using the additional space to assess and train hundreds of new call assessors to further bolster staffing levels in our 999 control room. With more staff than ever in our 111 and 999 control rooms as the service continues to respond to the pandemic, the extra parking spaces that have also been provided by the college are also welcomed and being utilised 24/7 by our control room staff.”

Chief Executive and Principal of Dudley College of Technology, Neil Thomas added: “We are proud to be playing our part and supporting our community during these difficult times as the training of staff for these key roles is vital to us all.”

Members of staff at Dudley College are also supporting front-line services by working with local employers to develop protective face visors for NHS workers. Using advanced 3D printing equipment, Dudley College has successfully produced masks that will be used by front line staff. The College is part of a group of employers in the region also producing these masks, such as Thomas Dudley Ltd and Metallisation. These employers are also leading on the development of a durable mould to allow for faster manufacture of the visors.  Ultimately this could lead to local employers being able to produce up to 3,000 protective visors per day for NHS staff. The College will continue to contribute to this through our 3D printing process.

Continuing the support, Dudley College has also donated all of its supplies of relevant Personal Protective Equipment such as face masks, overalls and gloves to local NHS hospital, Russells Hall. The College is also helping to meet additional requests from the NHS such as the call for hundreds of calculators to be used by prescribing nurses, which are in high-demand in during these difficult times.

Car park spaces across Dudley College campuses are being used by Enterprise, an award winning car rental company. Enterprise are storing vehicles on site as they continue to provide services locally as a key employer.

Staff and students are also being actively encouraged to volunteer in local groups providing much needed services in the community, such as delivery of goods to vulnerable people.

Commenting on the range of support the College is giving, Chief Executive and Principal Neil Thomas said: “The College is at the heart of the community and is here to help – we are pleased to assist in any way that we can. We have access to specialist facilities, a highly skilled workforce and our tremendous students who want to play a role. We are involved in lots of initiatives already, but there is always more we can do, so I would invite any other organisations who think we can support them to get in touch with me. Our college and wider community knows we will only get through this by everyone working together playing their role for the benefit of us all.”