Heriot-Watt launches student carers' policy



Keith MacAskill

Heriot-Watt University has today (Friday 4 October) bolstered its commitment to supporting carers in higher education with the formal launch of its Student Carers' Support Policy.

Now in its third year, the Policy has been developed to help overcome the obstacles faced by student carers across all five University campuses.

It is designed to provide a framework for carers, supporting them during their time at Heriot-Watt, helping them to manage studying alongside their caring commitments.

We don't want anyone with caring responsibilities to feel this will prevent them from attending this university or successfully completing their studies.

Keith MacAskill, Student Experience Manager at Heriot-Watt University

Around 40 delegates representing the University, the Scottish Funding Council and the charity, Carers Trust Scotland, attended the launch event held at the Edinburgh campus.

Among them was Keith MacAskill, Student Experience Manager at Heriot-Watt University, who said: “We have never formally launched the Student Carers Support Policy but have taken the opportunity to do so today to show our public support and commitment for this fantastic initiative.

“We don't want anyone with caring responsibilities to feel this will prevent them from attending this university or successfully completing their studies.  Our message is simple, we are here to offer help, guidance and support to anyone who is a carer and who wants to study.”

The University worked closely with the charity, Carers Trust Scotland in developing its policy to provide comprehensive support for student carers.

Specialised guidance on how best to support student carers has been shared with personal tutors, who are a student's first point of contact for advice and support. In addition, there is a dedicated website as well as further resources available through Student Wellbeing Services.

The University has also appointed a team of recent Heriot-Watt graduates as Student Success Advisors who can also be approached.

Steven Nicholson, is one such Student Success Advisor, who explains: “Through the Student Carers Support Policy, the University is aiming to create opportunities for students to come to Heriot-Watt knowing they will receive the support and guidance they need to achieve success in their studies. 

“In doing so, the University is working towards achieving the Going Higher Award, an initiative of Carers Trust Scotland designed to make it easier for higher education institutions to support student carers.

“Our aim is to make sure everyone gets the most out of their time at Heriot-Watt.”

Today's public policy announcement, is a key part of the University's commitment to deliver flourishing communities as part of its Strategy 2025. The strategy seeks to embed four guiding values, namely; inspire, collaborate, belong and celebrate, into everything Heriot-Watt does.   

The University is committed to welcoming students from a diverse range of backgrounds and recognises carers as one of its Widening Participation (WP) student groups.