Wesleyan has announced it will be supporting 15 dental students from disadvantaged communities with scholarship funding worth over £65,000. Each student will receive scholarship fees of £1,500 per year for the first three years, as well as regular mentoring and practical support both before and at the University of Birmingham.
The need for skilled dentists is more urgent than ever due to the pandemic. Dental surgeries were closed for months in lockdowns and many people are still avoiding routine check-ups for fear of COVID-19. This means people often need more complex treatments for advanced tooth decay and gum disease when they do see a dentist.
Nathan Wallis, Chief of Staff at Wesleyan, said: “We’ve always been committed to supporting dentists through every step of their careers, from their first appointment right through to retirement, and we are proud to support 15 students, at the start of their professions. Not only do we care about our communities and the challenges of social mobility, but we also understand that access to funding is critical to getting started at university.”
Professor David Adams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of College of Medical and Dental Sciences, from University of Birmingham, said: “Undergraduate dentistry students study for five years, instead of the usual three for many other subjects; by choosing to go into a field where they can help others, they are making a huge financial commitment. The scholarships from the Wesleyan Foundation will help to ease the pressure on students who would have otherwise struggled to get started at university.”
The scholarships form part of the University of Birmingham’s Pathways to Birmingham (P2B) programme, which has helped over 5,500 young people from underrepresented backgrounds study at the University over the last 20 years. The P2B programmes are targeted at young people who are the first in their family to go to university, are from low-income households, live in a postcode where few people go to university, have a disability, have been in care and/or are estranged from both parents or guardians.