ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY will offer nursing qualifications for the first time, after new healthcare investment plans were given the go-ahead.

Health Education and Improvement Wales has awarded a contract to Aberystwyth University to educate both adult and mental health nurses until the end of this decade.

The first nursing students will arrive for their studies at Aberystwyth University in September 2022.

The decision has been hailed as a major boost for the health service, especially in mid Wales.

The new degree courses will also offer students the opportunity to study up to half of their course through the medium of Welsh.

Reacting to the announcement, Aberystwyth University Vice-Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Treasure commented: “This is excellent and exciting news for everyone here in Aberystwyth. A big thanks goes to everyone who has been a part of developing our plans. We are very grateful for the consistent support of our partners, including the local health boards and Ceredigion County Council, without whom this exciting development would not be possible.”

“Supporting the community needs, in close co-operation with our partners, is central to our civic mission; and establishing nursing education here will be an important part of that. It will benefit the local recruitment and retention of nurses, as well as the potential to inspire new models of healthcare delivery which will be of benefit to everyone. Our plans will also make an important contribution to enhancing mental health and Welsh-medium provision locally and beyond.”

“During the pandemic, the hard work and commitment of our nurses, and that of other NHS and care workers during this turbulent time, has been nothing short of extraordinary. It is a great honour that Health Education and Improvement Wales has put its trust and investment in us, so that we can deliver on our exciting plans to educate nurses here.”

Professor Treasure added: “Over the years ahead, our ambition is to play an even bigger role in educating healthcare professionals. Given everyone’s experiences during the pandemic, there is perhaps no more important time to prioritise investing in the next generation of talented young people who will be responsible for the welfare of us all.”

Chris Jones, Chair of Health Education and Improvement Wales said: “This has been a huge piece of work reflecting the importance of high quality healthcare education and patient care in Wales. The approaches to widening access and grounding training in our communities will equip our students to serve well the needs of the population going forward.

“Thank you to everyone involved including stakeholders who helped shape the contracts and in turn the future of healthcare education. We’re looking forward to working with Universities and Health Boards to bring this modern approach to life and equipping students with the skills, knowledge and experience to embark on successful and fulfilling careers.”

The proposals to establish nursing education were developed by Aberystwyth University in co-operation with a number of partners including the Hywel Dda, Betsi Cadwaladr and Powys local health boards as well as service users and carers.

Students will be able to apply for 2022 places on the University’s BSc Adult Nursing and BSc Mental Health Nursing degrees from autumn this year. More information is available by emailing nrsstaff@aber.ac.uk