Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) is proud to have been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Education, a distinguished award recognising the college’s unparalleled commitment to addressing the critical workforce challenges faced by the NHS in Somerset.
BTC, in an extraordinary initiative, has become the pioneering force behind addressing the shortage of qualified nurses in Somerset. Over a period of ten years, BTC has been steadfastly forging partnerships, advocating for change, and innovating solutions that have transformed healthcare education and career opportunities in the region.
In a nationwide first, BTC gained consent from both the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) and its university partner, University of the West of England, to deliver nursing degrees locally. This has positioned the College as the first FE institution to join the Council of Deans of Health, lending a voice in shaping health policy and education on a national scale.
“By delivering nursing degrees right here in Somerset through our University Centre, University Centre Somerset, we’ve not only expanded career horizons for our community but also made a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of our residents,” said Andy Berry (pictured), Principal and CEO, BTC. “This initiative demonstrates our dedication to meeting local workforce demands and retaining local talent.”
The importance of this initiative is underscored by the daunting challenges faced by the healthcare sector. Projections reveal a looming gap of 140,600 nurses by 2031 in England, coupled with a decline in nursing graduates by 2025. With an ageing population and the ripple effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for qualified healthcare professionals is paramount.
The Queen’s Anniversary Prize, run by the Royal Anniversary Trust, honours institutions that showcase excellence, innovation, and significant public benefit in the sphere of UK education. BTC’s recognition is a testament to its pivotal role in steering healthcare education and workforce solutions in the right direction.
More information about studying nursing at Bridgwater & Taunton College or University Centre Somerset is available at www.btc.ac.uk or www.somerset.ac.uk.