Launch of new BECOME scholarships scheme to support talented students from minority ethnic groups study at the University of Winchester
The University of Winchester has launched a new scholarship scheme to support students from minority ethnic groups to study on its Education and Health and Wellbeing degree programmes.
Under the BECOME scheme, up to 20 undergraduate students from minority ethnic group backgrounds, who are domiciled in the UK, will receive £500 per year of their studies and £500 when they graduate. Each scholar will also receive academic life coaching and have access to specialist mentoring to support their academic studies, placements and career progression.
Support will also be available from the Winchester Employability Fund, with students able to apply for funding to support their career development, for example have driving lessons and present at academic conferences.
Up to five students studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education to become a teacher will receive £1,000 and access to specialist mentoring to support academic studies, placements and career progression and the Winchester Employability Fund.
In the scheme's launch year, three awards have been made to PGCE students and 17 to undergraduate students: four for BA (Hons) Primary Education; five for BN (Hons) Nursing (Adult); one for BN (Hons) Nursing (Mental Health); one for BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Dietetics; four for BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, and two for BSc (Hons) Social Work.
Sarah Harder-Collins, Head of Participation and Success at the University of Winchester, said: "The BECOME scholarships underpin our aspiration to widen participation and increase minority representation among our student community. They will enable talented students, regardless of their backgrounds, to enjoy the benefits of studying at Winchester."
The scheme was developed in consultation with the University's Health and Education Anti-Racism Transformers (HEART) group, led by staff and students in the Faculty of Education and the Arts and the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing who meet regularly to ensure that professional based courses are inclusive to all.
The group identified a need to better support students from minority ethnic groups entering into teaching, nursing and allied health professions. The group's own research shows that the University's global majority students on these courses are more likely to face inequalities impacting their placements and degree outcomes.
The findings reflect national research into the education and health professions:
- There is a lack of teachers from minority ethnic group backgrounds and poor retention rates, with teachers from minority ethnic groups experiencing unique problems linked to racial inequality and racism in their careers. (Tereshchenko, A, Mills, M, and Bradbury, A (2020). Making progress? Employment and retention of BAME teachers in England. London: UCL Institute of Education)
- The NHS has one of the most ethnically diverse workforces in the public sector. However, ethnic minority staff report worse experiences in terms of their lives and careers when compared with white staff, and people from an ethnic minority background are under-represented in senior positions in the NHS. (Ross, S, Jabbal, J, Chauhan, K, Maguire, D, Randhawa, M, Dahir, S (2020). Workforce race inequalities and inclusion in NHS providers, The King's Fund)
Kieron Parkinson is a recent BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy graduate who is supporting the development of the scholarship and whose personal experience flagged the need for tailored scholarships within education and health and wellbeing.
Kieron said: "I think the BECOME Scholarship is a great initiative from the University. Informed by research and lived experience, it shows that Winchester is proactively seeking to make education and health and wellbeing degree programmes more accessible for students from the global majority. Students will benefit from both academic and financial support, increasing their chances of success both within the university and in their subsequent careers."
The University is undertaking other work to promote diversity, including taking steps to diversify the curriculum, appointing senior champions for racial equality, improved racial harassment reporting and training and research to better understand Asian student experience. (Disaggregating the BAME Degree-Awarding Gap by University of Winchester - Issuu).
The University of Winchester offers a range of scholarships, bursaries and awards to support students and recognise achievements, providing students with financial support based on their academic achievements, personal circumstances and household income. As a University of Sanctuary, it also offers support for students seeking asylum.