North Wales students denied funding to study social care in England

STUDENTS in North Wales are being denied funding for courses available to everyone else in the UK, claims an angry Flintshire woman.

Welsh students who want to study social services courses in Wales are eligible to have their fees paid for them by the Welsh Assembly Government.

And English students wishing to study social care in England or Wales are eligible to have their courses paid for them by the NHS.

But Welsh students who aim to study similar courses in England are not eligible – meaning those in North Wales are being disadvantaged.

Charlotte Randall, 21, from Pontybodkin, near Mold, wants to do a masters in social work, but the only place she can do it in Wales is Cardiff.

Charlotte can’t afford to move to Cardiff and has been accepted onto the masters course in Keele, near Stoke, only 45 minutes from her parents house in Penley.

However, the Welsh Assembly is refusing to fund Welsh students if they study in England.

So while her coursemates in Keele will have their fees paid for them by the NHS, Charlotte will have to pay her own way.

“It’s unfair I have to pay when I know there are resources out there,” she said.

“If I lived in England I would have the course funded for me. It’s making me not want to be Welsh.

“If I moved to England I would have to live there for a minimum of a year before I would get funding, but I can’t afford to move and I don’t want to wait another year to start my course.

“So I have to pay £3,750 a year for the two-year course, but everyone else gets it for free.”

Charlotte added: “Wales will have to employ people who have trained in England anyway to fill the shortfall they will have as they only train 30 people a year.

“I have lived in Wales my whole life but now I feel I’m being punished for living here. I’m not happy with the Welsh Assembly.”

North Wales Tory AM Mark Isherwood said: “Cardiff University is the only university in Wales that offers a masters degree in social work and I have been approached by several people in north east Wales who tell me because of that they are being denied the opportunity to get the training they need to pursue their career.

“These people want to work in the Welsh workforce, yet they cannot access the post-graduate qualifications they need.”