Sinn Féin spokesperson for Further and Higher Education, Research Innovation and Science Rose Conway-Walsh TD has accused the government of inaction on the issue of placements for the 2,300 social care students.
The Mayo TD said:
“Huge difficulties exist in accessing placement. This has meant that most students have been unable to go out on placement and they are running out of time.
“Social Care students need to complete 300 hours of placement in their second and third year of the course in order to be registered under CORU and be able to work in a social care setting after they graduate.
“I have written to Minister Harris on a number of occasions seeking clarity on behalf of these students. Today, I have received a response from the Minister that confirms that, despite past assurances, no progress had been made.
“Social care students need to be provided a pathway to complete their courses that maintains the educational quality of the course.
“All social care students represent sorely needed future social care workers. It is vital that the government ensure that they are able to advance or progress.
“The Department and TUSLA have already recognised that we train too few social care workers. This disruption could have real impact on service provision down the road.
“Students have been left feeling like they are not important to the Government and Department that are meant to be working in their best interests. Other degrees have been facilitated and alternative arrangements put in place.
“The government has to stop ignoring the needs of third level students as they have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, social care students not being able to complete placement is just one example of this.
“We will continue to engage with the Minister, the Department and CORU to ensure that these issues are addressed as quickly as possible, and that the solutions brought forward work for students.”