The Welsh Government has announced £1.8 million to support health and social care students in Wales.
There has been a decline in the number of students enrolled on Health and Social Care programmes at colleges, which can be explained by the impact Covid has had on the delivery of courses.
The funding will help students complete their studies and encourage progression into the sector, as well as helping colleges promote health and social care courses to attract more students, helping meet the high demand for qualified staff. The funding could also be used to support childcare costs or to enable buddying or mentoring to support career development.
While in some instances, costs to supports 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.
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.