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17 November, 2023

College Honoured with Prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize

Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC), home of University Centre Somerset, is proud to have been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Education, a distinguished award recognising the College's unparalleled commitment to addressing the critical workforce challenges faced by the NHS in Somerset.

BTC, in an extraordinary initiative, has become the pioneering force behind addressing the shortage of qualified nurses in Somerset. Over a period of ten years, BTC has been steadfastly forging partnerships, advocating for change, and innovating solutions that have transformed healthcare education and career opportunities in the region.

In a nationwide first, BTC gained consent from both the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) and its university partner, University of the West of England, to deliver nursing degrees locally. This has positioned the College as the first FE institution to join the Council of Deans of Health, lending a voice in shaping health policy and education on a national scale.

“By delivering nursing degrees right here in Somerset through University Centre Somerset, we've not only expanded career horizons for our community but also made a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of our residents,” said Andy Berry, Principal and CEO. "This initiative demonstrates our dedication to meeting local workforce demands and retaining local talent."

The importance of this initiative is underscored by the daunting challenges faced by the healthcare sector. Projections reveal a looming gap of 140,600 nurses by 2031 in England, coupled with a decline in nursing graduates by 2025. With an ageing population and the ripple effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for qualified healthcare professionals is paramount.

The Queen’s Anniversary Prize, run by the Royal Anniversary Trust, honours institutions that showcase excellence, innovation, and significant public benefit in the sphere of UK education. BTC’s recognition is a testament to its pivotal role in steering healthcare education and workforce solutions in the right direction.

Sir Damon Buffini, Chair of The Royal Anniversary Trust said: “The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are an integral part of our national Honours system, shining a light on the ground-breaking work taking place in universities and colleges across the UK. All 22 Prize-winners demonstrate excellence, innovation and impact, with many tackling some of the toughest problems we as a society face today. They are to be commended for reaching this pinnacle of achievement in the tertiary education sector. Congratulations!”

Find out more about our Adult Nursing degree here and Mental Health Nursing degree here. If you're not quite ready to take on a degree programme, our one-year Nursing, Midwifery & Healthcare Access to HE Diploma is ideal preparation for university-level study. 

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact our friendly nursing team by emailing ucsnursing@btc.ac.uk.