In 2014 the charity piloted a student bursary scheme. The aim of the scheme was to make awards to students who demonstrated financial hardship, outstanding and exceptional qualities to overcome adversity and sound academic performance and who were expected by their school of pharmacy to make a positive and excellent contribution to pharmacy in Great Britain. In September 2014, following successful evaluation of the pilot, the charity was delighted to be able to launch the scheme nationally. Here we speak to 2014 award recipient Daniel, who explains what this award has meant to him.
Daniel’s interest in pharmacy began while still at school when he undertook some part time work as a healthcare assistant at Lloyds Pharmacy. He had just selected his A-Levels and at the time had not considered taking any science based subjects.
Despite his lack of relevant academic qualifications, Daniel became increasingly fascinated by the world of pharmacy, so set about researching his options. As an Isle of Man resident however, he was unable to gain access to student funding, so continued with his original plan to study politics at the University of Liverpool, returning to work in the pharmacy during holidays.
After a year at Liverpool, however, and unable to shake off his pharmacy dream, Daniel made the decision to quit his course and look for alternative routes into the profession. This involved a move to Northern Ireland for an Access to Higher Eduction course and repayment of his university fees to the Isle of Man government, whilst also supporting himself through his studies. In order to do this he took up a full time post in a local pharmacy and worked evenings in a bar. Whilst completing his course he also faced a lengthy appeals process where he was called upon to convince the Isle of Man government of his commitment to pharmacy so that he could rely on their support with university tuition fees.
Now in his final year of study at Manchester University School of Pharmacy, and despite considerable financial hardship (juggling numerous part time roles), Daniel is excelling in his MPharm qualification. He said:
“Throughout my degree just like many others I’ve had to balance the need to work to earn money with the need to study to succeed. This bursary has allowed me to plan my budget and even more importantly to dramatically reduce the hours I work.
“Whilst my part time job afforded me flexibility and responsibility, the nature of the work had a huge impact on my ability to concentrate on my studies. My financial situation meant that I worked four out of seven nights a week, often attending university from 9 – 5pm and working from 6:30pm until the bar closed at 1:30am.
“This bursary has helped me massively at such a critical point in my life. Having worked so hard to get on to a pharmacy degree and then to get to the fourth year, it would have been devastating if the need to work so many hours in my job had compromised my grades or even caused me to fail my final year. I would also urge anyone put off pharmacy by the burden of having no financial support, having a family to look after, or any other obstacle to look at all the avenues of support available to you to make sure it isn’t merely money that shapes your decision.”
The deadline for applications for the 2015 national student bursary scheme is Friday 13th February. Please note, however, that applications must be submitted to Pharmacist Support by your university who will likely have an earlier submission deadline.