New and returning students have been enjoying a warm welcome back to the City this week.
The University’s annual Welcome Weekend was a huge success with students able to meet each other, find out about sports clubs and societies, as well as get support and advice from University staff and Worcestershire County Council’s Public Health team, who have been working closely with the University throughout.
Activities all took place in the open air at the University’s City Campus with physical distancing and a range of other measures in place. It is the first time Welcome Weekend has been held in such a way and proved extremely popular.
Meg Price, President of Worcester Students’ Union, said: “It was so lovely to be able to welcome new and returning students into our community here at Worcester. Students really enjoyed meeting each other and finding out about all our wonderful sports clubs and societies. It was a huge success and something that we would love to do again next year.”
Teaching is already underway for students studying across a range of health and education courses, including Paramedic students, who were featured on the BBC last week, while many other students are taking part in induction activities this week with teaching beginning next week.
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’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor David Green CBE, said: “We are delighted to welcome new and returning students back to the University. Welcome Weekend was a real success and I would like to thank the Students’ Union, Facilities and Student Services staff and all our partners who worked so hard to create such a warm, safe, welcoming atmosphere at the weekend.
“It is vitally important that students are now able to begin their learning journeys with minimal disruption and that we can carry out our vitally important job of educating the next generation of professionals, whether in health, teaching, business, law and many other subjects.”
Students attending the Welcome Weekend said they were pleased to be back at the University and looking forward to getting their studies underway.
Rebekah Gilbert, a first year teaching student, said: “I’m excited, I can’t wait to start now, it’s going to be good. Today’s been a nice vibe, chilled. We’ve just been chatting to some older students and they all seem really nice, really friendly and approachable.”
Lucy Bradley, who was manning the Worcester Sinners Cheerleading Club stall at Welcome Weekend, said: “It’s really amazing to be back. The atmosphere outside is really good. Everyone’s felt really safe, it’s been a really good day. It’s obviously quite different but I think everyone’s so happy with the change of scenery and a bit of normality, being back at university. It’s been six months.”
The University, which is currently shortlisted for the second year running as University of the Year in the prestigious Times Higher Education Awards, 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 Green added: “We will continue to work very closely with our students and all of our partners in the City and are grateful for all the support we have received across the community.”