Supporting Hampshire's young undergraduates
Thursday, 21 March 2013
Up to 30 young people studying for a university degree will receive support with their costs of living thanks to a new Undergraduate Support Scheme provided by Hampshire County Council.
Under the plans agreed by County Council Leader, Councillor Ken Thornber at his Decision Day (14 March), ten young people each year for the following three years, will be provided with a scholarship towards living costs, extended paid work placements, and subject to performance, employment after they graduate. A total of £720,000 has been set aside for the scheme which will begin in 2014.
It forms part of the Council's Hampshire Youth Investment Programme - an initiative by Councillor Thornber to help more of Hampshire's young people step onto the employment ladder.
The scheme will see the Council expand the number of young apprentices within its workforce by up to 1,000 over the next five years. As part of this wider programme, up to 170 apprentices will be recruited each year and another 30 posts in total will be available for young people in care or leaving care as the Leader's Internship Plus scheme pilot is extended.
Apprentices have already worked for the County Council in roles such as mechanics, rangers or teaching assistants, in the countryside, in museums, and in laboratories.
The new Undergraduate Support Scheme will add to existing national and local bursary and loan schemes and would provide young people with a scholarship of up to £8,000 depending on their eligibility, and students' performance will be measured. Hampshire's scholarship will be based on a termly payment, including a paid extended work placement during the Summer holidays.
Councillor Thornber, said: "In addition to university tuition costs, the cost of living can be a significant burden for students, and this project aims to help those young people who are truly dedicated in their pursuit of higher education and a fulfilling career beyond graduation. Those who are hard working, enthusiastic, keen to learn, may have overcome considerable challenges to reach university, and drawn from families with limited financial means, will be in line to benefit.
"In addition to support with their living costs, advice will also be available to them from Council staff who will offer these young people additional professional guidance on areas such as budgeting or grant applications, for example.
"While the public sector may be facing considerable economic challenges today from reduced levels of Government funding, it is vital that we continue to encourage and harness the young talent of tomorrow. Their innovation and skills will help provide them with productive careers, enable Hampshire's economy to continue to prosper in the future, and help us to meet our future workforce requirements in the years to come."
Detailed work will now go ahead with local colleges and higher education providers to develop and implement the criteria and operation of the Undergraduate Support Scheme.