Scholarship helps University of Northampton student Elicia to save lives

Date 16.03.2017

Elicia Austin has wanted to help people since she was a youngster. During her GCSEs and A-levels, she volunteered at both Greenfields Specialist School for Communication, and then at Cube Disability in Northampton, working with young adults with special needs. Now, thanks in part to financial support from a scholarship, Elicia is well on the way to realising her dream of becoming a Paramedic.

The Sir Thomas White Scholarship – which is worth £4,500 over three years – supports academically gifted students at the University of Northampton by helping them with the cost of living, learning resources and accommodation. To apply, students must be permanent residents of the Borough of Northampton and have already accepted an offer to study at the University.

“It is difficult to put into words how much the Sir Thomas White Scholarship has helped me,” explained Elicia, who is now in the second year of the Paramedic Science degree programme. “The financial burden of training to be a paramedic is huge, and the scholarship has helped me with all of the associated costs, such as car maintenance, medical equipment and textbooks. I am certain that the scholarship has made it possible for me to achieve better grades than I would have done with the worry of these costs on my shoulders.”

As part of her course, Elicia spends half of her study time on placement, where she works as a student paramedic delivering pre-hosptial assessment and management to members of the public.

“I am assigned to South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), covering Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire; this means that some of my placements are 40+ miles away which turns some shifts into 18 hour days,” explained Elicia. As part of her ambulance training, Elicia recently passed the C1 driving test – which cost £1,500 for lessons and assessment. “I can now drive to medical emergencies on blue lights and sirens,” she added.

“On placements I am now lead clinical practitioner on emergency calls, under the watchful eye of my mentor. My confidence in practice is strengthening, as I am taking my university-gained training and knowledge and applying it in real life medical incidents. I have recently completed a placement in Paediatric Accident and Emergency admissions, gaining an A+ grade from my placement practice mentor. It was amazing to get an A* – I realised I can do this, and this is what I want to do.”

Elicia speaks highly of the help that the Sir Thomas White Scholarship award has given her: “Meeting other students I have realised how much of a difference these scholarships and awards can really make. I am now closer to realising my ambition to become a front line medical practitioner, and the Sir Thomas White Scholarship Award has really helped; thank you.”

Vice Chancellor, Professor Nick Petford, said: “We firmly believe income should not be a barrier to people who want to study at university, which is why we, and our partners, invest a substantial amount of money each year to support those who come from lower income backgrounds to achieve their dreams.

Potential students can find out more about the grants, bursaries and scholarships available, and the eligibility criteria, by visiting the scholarship webpage. To find out more about studying to be a paramedic, visit our course pages.