HANNAH Hillier is pursuing her dream job as a nurse caring for children thanks to an education bursary from Wiltshire Community Foundation.

The 21-year-old is in the final year of a degree course at the University of the West of England in Bristol studying for a BA in Children’s Nursing and working on the neo-natal unit at Great Western Hospital in Swindon.

She grew up in Trowbridge with her parents and two younger siblings.

When she left St Laurence School in Bradford on Avon after her A-levels she couldn’t afford to get to and from placements, buy books or cover other expenses for her nursing degree - despite taking on the maximum student loan of £50,000.

“I would always have done my nursing training but I would have needed to take a gap year, maybe two, to have enough money behind me to complete the course,” she said.

She applied for an education bursary from the community foundation and was awarded £1,500 for each year of the three-year course, which she says has made a vital difference to her studies.

“The bursary has been incredible and I get a bit emotional because it has been more help than I could ever explain,” she said.

“I could be doing long hours, including at night or weekends, so the bursary has allowed me not to have to worry about paying for parking at the hospital or petrol. It has also paid for books for the course.”

Her placement in Swindon is the sixth placement of her course.

“I’m really enjoying it at GWH because I am part of the team, the only thing that is different is that I get more support than a normal member of staff and they always make sure that I am learning,” she said.

“I’m looking after babies who are poorly, whether they are premature or have complications. It can be fraught sometimes but most of the time the babies that come to us aren’t extremely poorly so there is just a lot of managing their care and working with the mums and dads to establish routines like feeds.

“Most of the time it’s really calm because most of the babies are pre-term they sleep a lot.”

Her other placements included a stint at Julia’s House Children’s Hospice in Devizes. She is the first in her family to go to university and is set to earn a first in her degree. WCF has awarded more than £1.6 million in education bursaries since 2008.