Students who learned about the world of work at Torbay Hospital have graduated - despite missing out on their ceremony due to the pandemic.

Sophie Sproston worked with the catering teamSophie Sproston worked with the catering team

Those graduating, from South Devon College, proudly show off their newly received certificates after completing an award in employability skills as part of the Aspire Supported Internship Programme.

The course includes working at the hospital, which is run by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

Owing to Covid-19, the students had to finish their course early and couldn’t mark their achievement with the traditional graduation ceremony at the hospital.

However, their college tutor Julie Hughes said: “Congratulations to this year’s Aspire students, they have enjoyed working in various placements, and learning new skills. They have also completed an award in employability skills and we wish them every success in the future.”

The course is open to 18-to-24 year olds who are supported by specialist staff at the hospital to help them learn and develop key employment skills by gaining experience with one of the area’s bigger employers.

Skills include catering and administration experienced in the following areas: hospital portering, the children’s ward, restaurant and café, waste management, IT and domestic services.

Suzanne Hubbard, trust apprenticeships and widening participation manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear that all of the Aspire students successfully graduated this year, huge congratulations to them all.”

The students who graduated are Sophie Williams, Ffion Shore, Ella Constantine, Sophie Sproston, Robyn Coverdale, Matthew Harris and Aidan McMahon.

Sophie Sproston said: “Working with the catering team has really built up my confidence and I felt valued.”

Sophie Williams said: “I really enjoyed my placement with the porters, they were friendly and helpful.”

Robyn’s father, Simon said: “I do hope Aspire comes back. Even though Robyn didn’t manage the whole year, It has been critical in getting her to her current level of confidence and motivation. It is a fantastic scheme for students at a particular stage in their development.”