The University of Hertfordshire is to provide 40 scholarships of £9,000 each to student nurses and other healthcare undergraduates, in a bid to “break down perceived barriers” to entering the professions.
From this September, it will be offering the funding to 10 students in every academic year up until 2021.
“We want to break down any perceived barriers applicants might have about coming into the profession”
Within every group of 10, at least one nurse from each of the four fields of either adult, children’s, mental health, and learning disability nursing will receive a scholarship.
Recipients will be provided with £3,000 for each year of study, to put towards any costs they choose.
It is the first time the university has introduced such a scheme, and those behind it hope it will encourage more people to train in health and social care.
The funding is open to all students on undergraduate health and social work courses, including nursing, midwifery, social work, physiotherapy, paramedic science, diagnostic radiography, radiotherapy and oncology.
“People may have been confused or distracted by the changes within funding”
In addition, two further £4,500 scholarships, from the The Roerig Trust charity, will be given to adult nursing students studying at the University of Hertfordshire from this September.
Jackie Kelly, dean of the school of health and social work, said the funding scheme had been launched to raise the profile of some of the less visible health and social care professions, and to challenge perceptions among mature students who may feel they are unable to afford training.
It was also hoped the initiative would challenge other “perceived barriers” to training, such as around funding, following the removal of student bursaries in England by the government last year and switch to loans for trainees.
“People may have been confused or distracted by the changes within funding. So one of the things we want to demonstrate is these are valuable professions, that the university continues to be committed to the professions and these are exciting career opportunities,” she told Nursing Times.
“We want to demonstrate is these are valuable professions… and these are exciting career opportunities”
The university has recently suspended student recruitment at two out of three sites where it offers undergraduate learning disability nursing programmes, following a drop in applications.
Similarly, London South Bank University has recently launched a consultation on whether to permanently close its pre-registration learning disabilty nursing programmes.
Ms Kelly said she believed the “general” decline in applications to healthcare courses was partly down to the removal of bursaries, but noted many health careers were not promoted as much as others, which had also played a part.
jackie kelly university of hertfordshire
“By bringing in the scholarships, we want to give a positive message about breaking down any perceived barriers applicants might have about coming into the profession,” she said.
“We want the health and social care work economy to have the future employees and high calibre professionals to continue to deliver the services we will all need,” she told Nursing Times.
The scholarships are open to all potential students who have confirmed the University of Hertfordshire as their firm choice of university.
Applicants must submit a 300-word statement by 29 August explaining why they wish to work as a health and social care professional, their reasons for studying at the university and why they would benefit from the funding.