Level 3 Health and Social Care students at Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form have been making a real difference, by training to become Health Peer Mentors in College.

The students have been given training in a number of areas relating to health, including smoking awareness, sexual health, drugs and alcohol awareness and mixing drugs. They have met with NHS training teams to receive the training that is delivered to Health Care professionals across Lancashire.

The College is committed to giving its students an outstanding education, as well as taking care of their health and wellbeing. For the Health and Social Care students, acting as Peer Mentors not only gives them experience of delivering health initiatives, but it also allows them to provide an essential service to their fellow students, who might feel more comfortable asking other young people about more sensitive subjects such as drugs, alcohol or sexual health.

The Peer Mentors have held a number of health related ‘road shows’ outside of the College refectory at lunch time and in March, were involved in the Health Conference that was held at the ACE Centre in Nelson. Here, the Mentors worked alongside health care professionals to deliver sessions on a variety of health topics. The sessions with Peer involvement were rated very highly by the students who attended

Many of the Peers said that despite being nervous at first, they really enjoyed taking part in the Health Conference, and all have asked to be involved in more projects of this kind in College in the future. The Health Care Professionals on the day were very impressed with the Student Peers too, and some have even asked students to get in touch for volunteer placements and work experience in their departments.

Katie a current level 3 Health and Social Care student is now trained as a Health Peer and thinks that it is a great idea for students to take part in these programmes, she said “Being a Peer Mentor has highlighted the variety of roles there are available in the field I’m interested in and I have made some really useful contacts. I am now considering continuing in education once I finish College, because I have a clearer idea about what I want to do in the future.”