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Welsh government announces support for social care students

The Welsh government has announced a £1.8m support package for health and social care students in Wales to tackle a decline in enrolment during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The number of learning enrolled on Health and Social Care programmes at further education colleges in Wales has fallen from 4,046 in 2020/21 to 3,723 so far in 2021/22, after steadily increasing since 2018.

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.

The funding could also be used to support childcare costs or to enable buddying or mentoring to support career development.

Jeremy Miles, 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.’

In some instances costs to support student can be covered by a college’s Financial Contingency Fund (FCF), but the Welsh government hopes that this additional funding should provide a more consistent approach across Health and Social Care programmes and allow some colleges to offset FF expenditure into the next financial year.

Iestyn Davies, Chief Executive of Colegau Cymru, commented: ‘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.’

Photo supplied by the Welsh Government

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