University Alliance responds to the latest UCAS application figures

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Vanessa Wilson, Chief Executive of University Alliance has commented on the latest figures released by UCAS:

On the drop in applications for nursing courses:

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, applications to study nursing significantly increased as people felt inspired to contribute to the amazing efforts of the NHS. Application numbers are now returning to pre-pandemic levels, perhaps as the pandemic effect wears off, and perhaps as media coverage of the NHS crisis has highlighted how challenging a career in nursing can be.

“Nursing can be challenging, but it is also a rewarding and absolutely essential role, and our universities want to work with government to continue to attract people to careers in the NHS.

“With a shortage of 47,000 nurses in the UK, the challenge in training enough nursing staff does not just lie in recruitment. Last year only 52% of people who applied to study nursing across the UK were accepted onto courses. There is a lack of capacity to train nurses in the UK that is a more long-term issue than year-on-year fluctuations in demand from students.

“The challenge in training nurses is driven by a lack of placement capacity within the NHS itself, as well as a lack of long-term and joined up planning from government. To tackle the NHS workforce crisis for the long-term, the regulatory, planning and funding environment needs to be optimised to expand training capacity in universities and the NHS, so that nursing training can also grow on the supply side.”

On the drop in applications for teacher training:

“The drop in teaching training applicants will further exacerbate chronic teacher supply issues facing the country, and will be compounded by draconian policy interventions being implemented by the DfE forcing teacher training providers out of the system.”

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