Meet Gerald, Arnold and Einstein...the artificial grandads being used to help train the next generation of carers in Preston.
The ‘grandads’ are being used for training at Age UK in the city - the first strand of the national charity to role out the programme of using dummies to help new carers learn the skills needed.
Sue Cornthwaite recruitment officer at the charity’s training centre in Glover’s Court was responsible for organising the introduction of the bodies, which she has dubbed ‘One Generation.’
She said: “We are starting a new training programme and this is for the young people to learn. Some of them want to go into health and social care but have never worked in health and social care so it can be very daunting.
“The artificial grandads mean that the young people can have a go. It is easier to show them this way and if they make a mistake it doesn’t matter.
“They will learn how to care for someone. They will learn moving and handling, about dignity and personalised care plans.”
Carers who apply to the traineeship scheme running at Age UK’s training centre will be able to practice and build up their skills with the artificial grandads before going out on a placement in a home or other caring environment.
They will practice transferring the grandads from the bed to the chair or from the chair to the wheelchair and they will practice changing the model’s pads and more.
Sue added: “I think the term grandad makes it more real, if they were dummies maybe they wouldn’t be as careful.
“Even though they are pug ugly the young people have got used to them and even though they are not real they have got used to the weight of somebody. They weigh 30kg each which doesn’t sound that much but they are heavy, they are a dead weight.
“The young people get to use the hoist, slide sheets, they will get used to the equipment and the names of it so even if they are just helping another carer they will know what comes next. They will get used to talking to them even though the grandads can’t respond. It is very good for the young people.”
The dummies are the same as what are used by emergency services up and down the country, but they don’t usually have hair and aren’t dressed.
Staff have dressed the dummies up using clothes bought from charity shops.
Sue took delivery of the artificial grandads earlier this week and Age UK is currently home to all three of the dummies but soon one will make its way to the training centre in Manchester and another will go to the training centre in Barrow.
The traineeship programme launched earlier in the month and is for school leavers.
It replaces the Access to Apprenticeship scheme.