Students are being provided with hands-on experience in mental health care after partnering with a veteran’s support charity.

Nelson and Colne College has partnered with Burnley charity Healthier Heroes which supports veterans who may be experiencing difficulties since leaving the forces.

The partnership allows students who are successful in their application to become Mental Health Cadets.

One young person to have already benefitted from working with Healthier Heroes is Lucy Powell, who joined the charity on the government’s Kickstart scheme.

Lucy said: “When I was offered the opportunity to work with Healthier Heroes, I grabbed it with both hands.

“I have grown and been taught so much within a short period of time and there is still so much more for me to learn.

“I have loved my time with the charity and have felt fully supported throughout.”

The scheme is open to all students enrolled on health and social care courses.

Following a rigorous interview and shortlisting process, successful students will receive a cadet uniform and complete 315 hours of block placement training over a one-year period.

The training and experience they will receive from Bancroft House will directly impact their chosen destination, whether that relates to employment, or higher education at university.

Lecturer in health and social care, Laura Barrowclough said: “This partnership was set up to support our learners to develop the fundamental skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to work in the mental health sector.

“Usually, students can’t work in mental health until they’re 18 so it’s a great testament to the college that Healthier Heroes expressed such a willingness to work with us.”

Andy Powell, managing director of Healthier Heroes and an ex-army colour sergeant is to act as lead partner throughout the scheme.

He helped design the scheme’s curriculum and articulated the expectations he as an employer would have.