Welsh Government announce £1.8M fund to boost health and social care student numbers

Money is to be given to health and social care students to help them complete their studies and go into the sector, the Welsh Government has announced.

The £1.8 million support package is to be given to colleges and is intended to attract more learners so the high demand for qualified staff can be met.

Education minister Jeremy Miles (pictured) said the Covid-19 pandemic had “underlined” the need for trained personnel in NHS and social care settings.

“Trained staff are vital to the continuity of our NHS and social care services, which people across Wales rely on every day,” he said.

“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.”

There has been a decline in the number of students enrolled on health and social care programmes at colleges, which is said to be a result of the impact of Covid on the delivery of courses.

The fund can also be used to support childcare costs or to pay for buddying or mentoring schemes.

The Government said that while in some instances costs to support students can be covered by a college’s financial contingency fund (FCF), the additional funding will provide a consistent approach across health and social care programmes and allow some colleges to offset FCF expenditure into the next financial year.

Iestyn Davies, chief executive of Colegau Cymru, said: “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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