Spectacle Makers’ opens student bursary scheme for 2023-24 academic year

The Spectacle Makers’ Charity has opened applications for student bursaries for the 2023-24 academic year.

Since launch, the bursary scheme has helped more than 120 students enrolled on degree and diploma courses in dispensing, orthoptics, optometry, ophthalmic imaging and allied subjects leading directly to a career in eye health care. Nurses studying for MSc programmes in clinical ophthalmic practice/ primary care ophthalmology guidance for nursing are also eligible.

The scheme is competitive and fewer than one in ten applicants will receive a bursary. The Trustees are not looking for the highest grades or the most polished applications. They aim to identify students who would most benefit from a small financial contribution, to enable them to thrive in their course, and concentrate on developing their knowledge and skills.

Successful students are likely to be those who can demonstrate a strong personal commitment to their studies and are able to justify how they will spend the money by reference to a clearly costed plan. Applications are anonymised and individually assessed by a panel of Trustees and the full Board will then decide the amount of each award. No award may be more than £1,000.

Bursary winners have to provide a short written or video report about their progress and one or two bursary winners are invited by The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers to attend a special event in September to meet experienced people from right across the sector.

Chair of the Charity David Parkins said “We know that a bursary can only cover a small part of the costs involved in studying for a career in eye health, and we cannot help everyone who applies, but we want to do what we can.

We ask all applicants to complete the same online form. Everyone has the same chance to to tell us why they chose their course, what they love about it, what makes them different and why they specially deserve that little extra bit of help.”

Details of the scheme have been sent to all UK academic institutions running relevant courses. The guidance notes and application form can be found on the Spectacle Makers’ website.

The closing date for applications is midnight on Monday 27 November 2023. Awards are paid out by 31 March.