Western Isles Nursing Scholarship Wins National Award

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A Western Isles scholarship has won a Scottish Education Award.

The ‘Pre Nursing Scholarship’ is part of the Comhairle’s Vocational Education Strategy and provides senior pupils with an interest in nursing with the opportunity to gain nursing Skills for Work, NHS Western Isles practice experience, Stirling University residential education experience and associated SQA qualifications. This Progression Pathway to a BSc Nursing course has been followed this year by pupils from Barra and Uist.

Addressing the aspirations of young people in Castlebay School and Sgoil Lionacleit and skills shortages identified in remote communities, the Pre Nursing Scholarship partnership has been recognised as a finalist in the UK Student Nursing Times Awards 2013 (the only finalist from Scotland) and a winner in the Scottish Education Awards. Scottish Education Awards (Enterprise and Employability) judges visited finalists, including Castlebay School recently.

Cllr Catriona Stewart, Chair of Education and Children’s Services, said: “Curriculum for Excellence can best be delivered through partnership working and the ‘Pre Nursing Scholarship’ is designed to serve the community at large as well as individual young people.

The Comhairle is delighted to have its schools’ partnership with the University of Stirling and NHS recognised in both Scottish Education and UK Nursing spheres”.

NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson said: “In a remote and rural area such as the Western Isles, there are clear and well-known challenges that we face in terms of the recruitment and retention of healthcare staff, and we always welcome opportunities to encourage and promote the islands and healthcare careers here. We were delighted to work with partners on the pre-nursing scholarship programme to promote nursing as a first choice career, help people develop employability skills, and provide insight into the nursing profession amongst young people with an interest. It is anticipated that young people returning to School will become ambassadors for health in their area.”