University Students Welcomed Back to Worcester

The University has been working hard over the summer to prepare its campuses for the safest possible, socially distanced return to a blend of in-person study and online learning.    

The University of Worcester is one of the UK’s largest, high-quality educators of teachers, nurses and midwives. Every year hundreds of health professionals graduate from Worcester, including paramedics, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists, as well as nurses and midwives, many of whom opted to join the NHS early this year in order to assist with the national emergency and help to save lives.

The University was awarded the biggest increase in places for health professional students of any UK university and will now be educating over 1,000 health professionals each year, every year going forward. Students taking these vital degree courses require face-to-face practical teaching in dedicated clinical simulation suites in order to gain the high-quality skills needed to complete their course and go on to serve patients and support and protect the NHS going forward.

Professor David Green CBE, the University’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, said: “It is absolutely essential that more health and educational professionals receive a first class university education and are able to serve people and society in a highly skilled way. So too business, the Law, science and other professional areas need our well-educated, purposeful and highly responsible graduates. Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of all our students, staff and the wider community, whilst simultaneously ensuring this vital educational work continues.”

Professor Green continued: “We have long worked in close partnership with the City and County Councils, the NHS Health Trusts, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce and other key community and business organisations. Now we are working together to do our best to ensure the City and wider region minimises the damage and recovers as swiftly as possible from the pandemic.”

Sharon Smith, Chief Executive of Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Student spending provides a valuable contribution towards the local economy, supporting local businesses and providing a number of jobs to the city. Many businesses will be pleased to see students returning to Worcester and will welcome them back to their favourite local retail stores, bars, cafes and restaurants.

“We encourage students to continue enjoying all the Worcestershire has to offer them as part of their full University experience and trust that they will do so safely and responsibly, within government guidelines. We know that businesses and the University of Worcester have put a huge amount of work into making our County a safe place for all of us to live and work in and we continue to support their great efforts.

“Students also contribute toward the local labour market with many employed by a wide range of businesses across a variety of sectors. Now more than ever these businesses will be dependent on all their staff as they slowly return to full capacity as restrictions are eased.”

The University has extended its usual Welcome Weekend to include staggered arrivals, reducing the numbers arriving to the City at any one time. Induction activities will also be brought forward to take place at that time and will largely take place outside at the City and St John’s Campuses, where students will have a chance to find out about clubs, societies and activities, as well as meeting others, in a safe way.

All students, both new and returning, will be required to be active members of the community and follow our clear guidance on things such as social distancing and hygiene. 

The University’s Pro Vice Chancellor, Ross Renton, who has been Chairing the University’s return to campus health and safety work, said: “We are all very proud of all our students and staff who selflessly volunteered their time during the pandemic, whether working on the frontline or helping in their communities.

“Students this year will face a different situation in light of the pandemic to what they probably anticipated six months ago.  Our second and third year and postgraduate students will be returning to a different city to the one they left in the Spring, while for many of our new first years this will be an unusual first experience of living in Worcester. We want them to have the best experience possible, while also remaining safe, and are therefore grateful to our partners for working with us to ensure our students have access to all the support and advice they need both on and off campus.”

Meg Price, President of Worcester Students’ Union, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming both new and returning students to Worcester. We will be providing lots of activities both online and offline as well as advice and guidance to ensure the safest and most enjoyable start to the new academic year.”

Dr Kathryn Cobain, the Director for Public Health in Worcestershire added: “A very warm welcome to all students arriving in our county for the first time or returning for another academic year. Our students add to the vibrancy of our region and we are delighted to see you back. To ensure your student life can be productive and enjoyable, I’d ask you all to do your bit, and stick to the social distancing guidelines. Please stay 2 metres apart, wash your hands regularly and wear face coverings where necessary. I understand this will be challenging at times but following these simple guidelines will help to keep you, your University friends and the wider community safe. I hope you have a wonderful year ahead.”