In 2014 the charity piloted a student bursary scheme. The aim of the scheme was to make awards to students who demonstrated outstanding and exceptional qualities to overcome adversity, sound academic performance and who were expected by their school of pharmacy to make a positive and excellent contribution to pharmacy in Great Britain.
Two years later the scheme is going strong and we’re currently assessing 2016’s bursary submissions. We’ve also been catching up with our 2015 recipients, to see how the bursary has helped their education.
Stephen Messham is currently in his final year at Liverpool John Moores University. Stephen originally started studying pharmacy at the University of Hertfordshire in 2006, but was unable to complete his degree due to family issues. In 2012 he returned to Liverpool to restart his studies. Stephen had to juggle his degree with part time work in order to afford rent and bills, often working 24 hours a week on top of his full time MPharm course. Despite personal and financial difficulties, Stephen continued to work hard and achieve high grades, as well as remaining active within the student community – becoming public relations officer for the BPSA and contributing articles to the Pharmaceutical Journal.
“The bursary has enabled me to focus on my final year of studies and I have not had to undertake part-time work alongside this so I was also able to continue other commitments (such as my role on the BPSA Executive). This means I am to complete my studies without too much additional stress about finances. I think because I was able to have this focus on pharmacy, I will be entering my pre-registration year with enthusiasm and passion for my career, which can only help me get through the challenging times ahead.
Primarily, I want to register as a pharmacist. I was fortunate to secure an industry/hospital split pre-registration training place, which gives me an exciting opportunity to experience two different sectors and from that I will be able to evaluate where I would like to continue my career. I hope to continue to have involvement with the wider profession as I have been fortunate to have through my undergraduate studies with the BPSA. I have also agreed to become an Ambassador for Pharmacist Support and I hope to get involved with some fundraising activities to show my appreciation for the wonderful things that the charity has done for me and continues to do for many pharmacists, pre-regs and students.
I was almost not going to apply because I didn’t feel like I deserved it enough until my lecturer, who had been aware of my situation, encouraged me to do so. It is easy to think that your own difficulties are insignificant, but they almost certainly aren’t.”