Current medical and dental students pulled out all the stops to deliver a virtual Peninsula Pathways programme this summer for young people considering studying a healthcare subject at university.
Peninsula Pathways is part of the Faculty of Health’s outreach activity, and has been running for more than 10 years. When the coronavirus struck, it quickly became apparent that the normal comprehensive programme of activities, workshops and summer work experience provided by Student Ambassadors and staff to potential applicants would not be possible this year. Instead of cancelling, the Widening Participation team, along with Widening Access to Medical School (WAMS) and Widening Access to Dental School (WADS) Student Ambassadors, decided to adapt by planning and delivering the sessions online.
This not only ensured that the 200 students from local schools and colleges who had already registered did not miss out, but also enabled the team to reach over 1,000 students nationally.
Each year, WAMS and WADS Student Ambassadors facilitate Peninsula Pathways workshops designed to help those considering careers in healthcare, with the aim of targeting and supporting the most able students from the groups least likely to go to university.
The Peninula Pathways activities include: various workshops, such as UCAT (the clinical aptitude test used in the selection process by the majority of UK medical and dental schools), and mock interviews; work experience programmes for medicine, dentistry and biomedical sciences; and an established e-mentoring programme where potential applicants are matched with a current medical, dental or biomedical science student. As well as delivering these sessions online, biomedical sciences students helped academic staff run a two-day virtual Biomedical Sciences Experience Day.
Muniza Waseem, Kat Paton, Sumbel Khan and Ifrah Rahman (WAMS and WADS Student Ambassadors, pictured below from left to right) planned and converted the normal UCAT in-house workshops to eight weeks of virtual practice sessions over the summer. Sumbel, speaking on behalf of the Ambassadors, said:
“These workshops are to help aspiring medics and dentists become familiar with the layout of the UCAT and develop their confidence to sit the exam. We have enjoyed being able to reach out to students from all over the country and different backgrounds. The feedback has been really positive and definitely inspires us to do even more.”