Student social workers in Wales claim they are missing out on
vital funding needed to help pay for their studies,
writes Alex Dobson.
Many are angry because English students are currently receiving
bursaries of around £3,000, while in Wales students are being
forced to take out loans and work part-time to help them complete
their studies. The bursaries for Welsh students will not come on
line until next year, when the new social work degree begins in
Caryl Rees, aged 23, already has a degree, but is now following
the two-year Dipsw programme in Cardiff. She said most of her
fellow students are angry and disappointed because of the
inequality in the funding regime.
“We are really upset because our English counterparts are
already receiving bursaries this year with the introduction of the
new social work degree.
“Many students here are concerned that English students are
coming to Wales with a bursary from England and can study on the
same course as Welsh social work students. But in Wales we do not
receive that bursary,” she said.
“We understand that they are getting an additional
£3,000 a year, but we are having to take out the equivalent
amount of debt to carry on with our studies,” she added.
Welsh assembly social services minister Jane Hutt has announced
that social work students in Wales are to receive more money. From
2004 payments of £2,500 a year of study will be available for
each student. They will also be able to apply for their fees to be
paid, up to a maximum of £1,100 and to claim travelling
Students who are starting or already on the Diploma in Social
Work or the new social work degree, will also be eligible to apply
for non-means tested funding, she said.
“Social work is important and valuable work and we want to do all
we can to support and encourage people to enter the profession.
That is why we are introducing a new funding scheme to coincide
with the introduction of new degree level training,” she