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Statement from University of Plymouth & the College of Podiatry re: Apprenticeships and Undergraduate Programme

Statement from University of Plymouth & the College of Podiatry re: Apprenticeships and Undergraduate Programme



Following the 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review, the removal of NHS bursaries since 2017/18 has required students to self-fund for undergraduate healthcare training. This has corresponded with a reduction in the overall number of applicants for podiatry programmes in England, including a significant reduction in mature students applying to study podiatry.

To help meet the challenges of national workforce recruitment, the University of Plymouth is scoping out a blended learning approach to support delivery of an undergraduate podiatry programme through an apprenticeship model. This work will take place alongside provision for its existing, and prospective, student cohorts in BSc (Hons) Podiatry.

While this work takes place, the University of Plymouth has reluctantly taken the decision not to accept first-year BSc (Hons) Podiatry students for the forthcoming academic year (2019/20) but to have a ‘fallow year’ for this programme. The University will continue to liaise closely with clinical partners over the coming year and is actively recruiting BSc students for the following academic year (2020/21), alongside its apprenticeship work. Second and third year undergraduates will not be affected and will continue their studies as planned.

The University has been a key contributor to the trailblazer group that led to the development of the innovative apprenticeship route into podiatry, and so is in a strong position to offer high quality training to those people who might not undertake the traditional undergraduate degree due to financial cost.  

Angie Abbot, Head of Podiatry and Orthotics Services at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The University of Plymouth is a key delivery partner in South West podiatry, and the vital work of its students and graduates has a huge impact on patients’ lives. It’s so important that within and outside the profession we champion the work of podiatrists, and encourage more people to go into the career going forwards.”

Dr Sally Abey, Associate Head of School of Health Professions at the University of Plymouth, said: “To benefit the profession nationally, we need to ensure that we’re offering the most accessible and attractive educational provision for prospective students. The University of Plymouth offers the largest selection of healthcare courses across the South West of England, and as we expand our offer, we expect our future courses to continue the success of our existing programmes.” 

Steve Jamieson, CEO of the College of Podiatry said, ‘‘The College has been working closely with Health Education England to address the many issues facing the podiatry workforce.’’ Dr Sally Abey is the Chair of the Undergraduate curriculum review work stream, and Emma Cowley, Senior Lecturer in Podiatry at the University of Plymouth, has led on the development of a new Career Framework, which will ultimately include the apprenticeship route into the profession.

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