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Location: Birmingham, West Midlands
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A new bursary is being launched for medical students that is designed to tackle the gender gap in several healthcare fields, including occupational therapy.
Coventry University has announced that it has a £30,000 fund available - thanks to the National Express Foundation Group - to offer to ten men who sign up to courses where the number of female students currently significantly outweighs that of males.
These include occupational therapy, physiotherapy, nursing, dietetics, midwifery and the field of operating department practice, all of which the university believes would benefit from more qualified male professionals.
Students who successfully apply for the bursary will be given £1,000 to help support themselves through their studies for each year of their degree. The bursary is aimed specifically at applicants from within the West Midlands region.
Statistics from UCAS show that men currently account for just ten per cent of all nursing students at UK universities, with around 26,000 women on such courses compared to approximately 2,800 men, highlighting a significant gender gap.
This gap has been growing over the past few years, as figures show the number of women on nursing and related university courses came in at just over 19,000 back in 2012.
Some patients feel more comfortable being cared for by a male healthcare worker, so Coventry University wants to take action to close this gap and encourage more men to consider careers in sectors that might not have traditionally been marketed to them, such as nursing and occupational therapy.
Rob James, academic dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Coventry University, commented: "We support all initiatives taking positive action to address unequal gender representation in any subject discipline and this bursary does so across healthcare training.
"While there's lots being done nationally - and at Coventry - to encourage women into sciences and engineering, we hope this new initiative will lead the way in addressing the persistent low proportion of men working in many healthcare professions."
Written by Alex Franklin Stortford
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