Before the current lockdown was announced and students nationwide were required to stay at home to complete their studies, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai groups would regularly go on field trips to enhance their learning and increase understanding in their subjects. Early in March, level 3 Health and Social Care students at Dolgellau and Pwllheli campuses went to the city of Liverpool where they visited a number of educational establishments, namely John Moores University, Edge Hill University in Ormskirk and Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

At John Moores University, the students were shown how to perform a number of tasks by undergraduate students including taking blood. The teaching staff and students from the University were eager to help the visitors and provided useful advice relating to their studies. The Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor group were able to ask the university students a variety of questions about university life, such as accommodation options and fun things to do nearby. The group continued their higher education research with a trip to Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, where they were shown around the campus and were again treated to a meet and greet with students already at the university. Meeting likeminded young people who had been through the students' situation of considering their next steps after college was an invaluable opportunity for the group and has helped them develop their plans for the future.

The Health and Social Care learners also paid a visit to the children's hospital, Alder Hey. They were met by friendly hospital staff there who gave them a tour of the building and explained the ins and outs of working in a place like Alder Hey. The students were given demonstrations on how to use the specialist equipment which is used on a daily basis at the hospital, and were encouraged to use some of them with guidance from experienced nurses. The staff shared their experiences of higher education with the students and gave some insight into what experience and skills they would need to work in a hospital like Alder Hey.

Erin Fflur Jones from Blaenau Ffestiniog, who studies Health and Social Care at Dolgellau campus described the experience as extremely helpful in deciding what to do after college. She said,

The visit gave me the chance to discuss courses with young people studying child nursing and others studying adult nursing, which has helped me decide on my own future path. One of my favourite parts of the experience was being shown around Alder Hey hospital, because I got a real feel for the atmosphere there and how the children benefitted from their fantastic surroundings. I also enjoyed being guided to perform practical tasks, such as checking my friend's blood pressure, checking their pulse with an observation machine, giving CPR, and taking blood using a mannequin.

It was an incredible experience to be able to visit the hospital and to discover why it is such a special establishment. The students learnt about the history of the building, how the structure of the hospital was inspired by a child's drawing. The trip gave the Dolgellau and Pwllheli students a glimpse into the future and it provided a chance for them to learn more about life in university, living in a city, and even working in a huge, complex establishment such as Alder Hey.

If you would like to learn more about Health and Social Care courses available at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, visit www.gllm.ac.uk/health