THE Scottish Liberal Democrats will today pledge to offer new bursaries for student paramedics in their manifesto ahead of the Holyrood election.

The party said student paramedics must do 2,500 hours of shift work, which reduces the opportunity to take on a part-time job.

Student nurses and midwives, who work to similar patterns, receive a bursary in recognition of this.

Paramedic Science students have been lobbying the Scottish Government to address the gap.

The Lib Dems have criticised SNP ministers over their failure to take action on the issue.

However, the SNP's manifesto, which was launched yesterday, also pledged to "create a student paramedic bursary to help support the paramedics of the future during their training".

Lib Dem candidate Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "The lesson of the pandemic is that life is fragile, and that good health cannot be taken for granted. 

"Many of us found comfort in the knowledge that if we need help, it is only ever a phone call away.  

"Paramedics are an essential part of the NHS workforce. 

"Nobody starts their day thinking they will need a paramedic, but many of us have finished the day thankful that they were there. 

"But the workforce is in trouble. Paramedics are overworked, and under-resourced. 

"We need as many student paramedics as possible to get boots on the ground.

"Scottish Liberal Democrats have been firm supporters of the Pay Student Paramedics campaign from the outset. 

"The SNP's stubborn reluctance to listen stung many student paramedics who stepped up to help the NHS in their time of need. 

"Scottish Liberal Democrats will put recovery first and get on with the job of supporting our NHS without distraction."

Elsewhere, Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie used a visit to Fife College to announce the latest in a series of proposals for green investment and renewables. 

He said he wants Scottish workers to be given the "best chance" of winning contracts for building the turbines needed for offshore wind farms.

The Lib Dems proposed a Scotland-wide effort to boost capacity in this area, allowing the country to compete with other nations across the globe for these contracts.

Mr Rennie said: "At this election I am setting out proposals to build up new green industries and create thousands of jobs through investment in warmer homes, renewables, the circular economy and hydrogen. 

"We have the wind, the waves, the people and skills to make it all work.

"Alex Salmond promised we would be the Saudi Arabia of renewables. The SNP make big announcements but don't back them up. The workers at BiFab know that better than anyone."