Welsh Government announces extra £1.8m support for health & social care students
The Welsh Government has announced £1.8 million to support health and social care students in Wales.
Ministers say the funding is aimed at helping students complete their studies and to encourage their progression into the sector, which has a high demand for qualified staff.
The funding could also help colleges promote health and social care courses to attract more students and could be used to support childcare costs or to enable buddying and mentoring schemes to support career development.
While in some instances, costs to support students can be covered by a college’s Financial Contingency Fund (FCF), this additional funding should provide a consistent approach across Health and Social Care programmes and allow some colleges to offset FCF expenditure into the next Financial Year.
There has been a decline in the number of students enrolled on Health and Social Care programmes at colleges, which the Welsh Government say can be explained by the impact Covid has had on the delivery of courses.
In the academic year 2020/21 estimated student numbers reached 4,046 having risen from 3,575 in 2018/19. However, this year, to date, the cohort has dropped back down to 3,723.
Last March, the Welsh Government published Health and Social Care in Wales – Covid-19: Looking Forward, which describes the impact of Covid-19 on health and social care services.
Pressure on staffing
Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said: “The pandemic has underlined what we already knew – that skilled, trained staff are vital to the continuity of our NHS and social care services, which people across Wales rely on every day.
“Given the pressure on staffing in our health and social care sectors, it is critical we take action to attract more students and support them in completing their courses.”
Iestyn Davies, Chief Executive of Colegau Cymru, said: “The Pandemic has brought into sharp focus the importance of the health and social care sector.
“The additional funding will help ensure that more learners are encouraged into a rewarding role with the knowledge and skills needed not only to support their residents and clients, but also to complete their studies and progress to meaningful, skilled careers.
“The financial support demonstrates the Welsh Government’s commitment to both skills and wellbeing and is very welcome.”
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