University of Stirling student paramedics are appealing to the Scottish Government in a bid to receive an equal bursary to midwives and nurses.
The campaign, which has been running since last year, is pushing for an equal sum of bursary to nurses, who get £10,000 a year.
The paramedic science course at Stirling is relatively new, with student paramedic Matthew Devlin saying: “We’re struggling to survive because people are trying to work two jobs at the same time to try and keep going.
“It’s more for people with kids and people that are really struggling to try and support themselves, to feed themselves.
“It’s really hard to keep the jobs going as well because you’re doing these [placements] and if you get a nice employer… they understand but not everyone is so lucky, so it’s really hard.”
The course means trainee paramedics go on placement for half of the year and are studying for the other half.
Matthew, 21, said: “We’re doing like 12.5 hours shifts, 3-4 times a week so we can’t really be doing another job at the same time.
“We are absolutely exhausted because you need to get the days off to recover from those shifts and learn and update your paperwork and stuff so it’s really difficult for people. It makes it really difficult to juggle any work you might have going.”
Students from Scotland get their travel to placements covered. However, non-Scottish students “basically end up paying to go on placement, it’s really tough.”
The campaign has been pressuring politicians to implement a change by September, the start of the new academic year.
All major political parties have made pledges for the change, but only the SNP, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats have made pledges and included a proposal in their manifestos. However, Matthew says: “We just need to see how the election goes… so it’s basically persistent pushing right now, especially if the SNP win as they’ve put it in their manifesto.
“It’s just going to be persistent pushing those in power to get it implemented for September. I don’t want the next year coming in and having to deal with this as well.”
Matthew, from Glasgow, continued saying: “You’re shattered at the end of it and trying to keep a job, sometimes even two jobs, as I was working to try and support myself. We do get SAAS but we need to keep pushing.
“It’s really back breaking stuff and we’re just trying to get a bursary equal to that of nurses.”
The students are continuing to campaign, as Matthew says: “We are fairly supported… I think here at Stirling but when it comes to like raising awareness for the campaign is pushing it forward to actually implementing it in September.”
Feature Image Credit: Matthew Devlin