A new virtual reality tool developed by the University of Leeds, which aims to promote healthcare courses to prospective students, including therapeutic radiography, is one of 10 innovative projects awarded a total of £440,000 by the Office for Students (OfS) this summer.
The funding is the final round of the Challenge Fund competition run by the OfS as part of the Strategic Interventions in Health Education Disciplines (SIHED) programme.
The objective is to increase the number of students entering and completing small, specialist healthcare courses considered to be vulnerable due to decreasing recruitment and retention. An additional £480,000 worth of resources has also been committed by participating universities and partners.
The project at Leeds, awarded more than £45,000, aims to use virtual reality technology and educational workshops to engage school students in a range of simulated clinical scenarios, to respond to real-life challenges through the eyes of healthcare professionals. The project will also use online mentoring to support student university applications, with an emphasis on recruiting more male students to healthcare courses.
Other awards include:
Suzanne Rastrick, the chief allied health professions officer for England said, “These projects provide a multidisciplinary approach to address the real challenges faced today in recruiting and retaining the next generation of healthcare professionals.
“They will help increase the number of people considering AHP careers, support those who have commenced pre-registration AHP courses to complete their studies, and provide alternatives to address some of the challenges associated with clinical placement capacity. I look forward to seeing the impacts of this work.”