Supporting future nurses, midwives and allied health workers

Released 13/03/2024

More than 200 nursing, midwifery and allied health students in the ACT have already been approved for financial assistance as part of a new ACT Government program to support the ACT’s health workforce.

The Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Study Incentive Program to attract and retain students studying nursing, midwifery and allied health tertiary qualifications in the ACT was announced in November and is administered by the University of Canberra and the Australian Catholic University.

It consists of two separate payments:

  • Cost of Living Stipend: up to $3000 per annum over three years to eligible students commencing in 2024 in eligible qualifications to ease cost of living pressures while studying.
  • Placement Support Grants: up to $1000 per placement to eligible students in eligible qualifications to provide financial support during their clinical placements.

The program was created partially in response to key recommendations from a student roundtable held by the ACT Government in April 2023 that highlighted a need for financial support to students during clinical placement.

Minister of Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the early take-up of the financial incentives during the program’s first semester was encouraging, with further applications for this semester still pending.

“Clinical placements are integral to a student’s learning and experience, but we know they can be a financial burden. Students will often need to cancel shifts or take time off work to focus on their placements, causing financial stress and worry," Minister Stephen-Smith said.

“It’s great to see that more than 200 applications for Cost of Living Stipends and over 50 Placement Support Grants have already been approved by the University of Canberra and the Australian Catholic University.

“This support is now helping ease some of the financial burden on nursing, midwifery and allied health students, so they can focus on their studies and clinical placements.

“The ACT Government is making record investments in the health system. Our key priority is growing and retaining our workforce so that Canberrans can access the right care, at the right time and in the right place.“

Ensuring we have a health workforce that is highly skilled and supported is critical as we continue to invest in the ACT health system to meet the growing needs of our city and region.

“We will continue to focus on creating career pathways, investing in modern equipment and infrastructure, and supporting staff with initiatives such as nurse-to-patient ratios," Minister Stephen-Smith said.

The Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Study Incentive Program was developed in consultation with our university partners to ensure we attract and retain healthcare students in an increasingly competitive market.

Quotes attributable to ACU Canberra campus dean Professor Darius von Guttner:

“The ACT Government initiative embodies ACU's commitment to nurturing the next generation of healthcare professionals.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer our students these substantial financial incentives to support and allow them to focus more on their studies and less on financial pressures.

“ACU understands that our students make sacrifices in pursuit of excellence in healthcare. By collaborating with the ACT Government, we are proud to be at the forefront of addressing critical workforce needs and ensuring our graduates are not only highly skilled but also ready to meet the demands of the healthcare industry care economy of the future.

“With this program, we are investing in a robust future for the health sector and the wellbeing of our communities.”

Quote attributable to Deputy Dean, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Professor Jennie Scarvell: 

“The uptake from UC students for both the Placement Support Grant and Cost-of-Living Scholarship highlights the benefit of this ACT Government support for our students.

“In the case of the Placement Support Grant it is notable that the majority of applications are from UC students who are attending clinical placements that exceed 21 days. This demonstrates that this financial support is meaningful.

“UC’s graduates form the backbone of the health workforce in Canberra, and these financial incentives ensure that our students receive the support they need to focus on their studies and attend crucial clinical placements.”

- Statement ends -

Rachel Stephen-Smith, MLA | Media Releases

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