Widening participation students try range of healthcare roles

Learning how to safely transfer a patient to a spinal board
Students learn how to safely transfer a patient

21 April 2017

  • Students on Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare programme get hands-on learning
  • Aston Medical School boosts aspirations of young people from disadvantaged areas

Eleven young people on a learning and development programme to encourage aspirations of a medical career have this week been experiencing a range of healthcare roles.   

The students are among almost 100 from disadvantaged circumstances and areas across Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country who are participating in the innovative Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare Programme. 

Today, 11 students experienced healthcare roles including an ambulance paramedic, nursing, infection control and a hospital CRASH team at HealthTec Birmingham, an interactive educational facility for the health and care sector.

The HealthTec programme provides hands-on practical work-related learning experience that follows a patient’s journey from cardiac arrest to rehabilitation, encompassing a range of different careers within the NHS. The students also had a session looking at genomics – the study of genes, their functions and how they inter relate to one another. 

Aaron Mansfield, project co-ordinator at HealthTec is pictured centre showing students, left to right, Amy Waters of Wordsley, Prabhjot Khaira of West Bromwich and Liam Wilkinson of Rowley Regis, the safe technique for transferring a patient on to a spinal board.  

Last week, a further four students enjoyed placements last week at GP practices in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, Kingswinford and Walsall and at a community health centre in Lozells, Birmingham.

Amanda Bishop, widening participation manager for the Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare programme, said: “Work experience plays a vital part in supporting students when applying to the healthcare professions as a degree, therefore the skills our widening participation students have gained during their time are essential to them finding out more about these careers.

“The rest of our students will experience placements in hospitals, GP surgeries and community healthcare settings during the school holiday in July. There will also be a residential summer school on the Aston campus for all students where they will undertake research into health issues pivotal to their local area, work on a medical ethics project and learn what it is like to live as a university student.”

The Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare project launched last November and over the two-year programme the students benefit from experiences including workshops, visits, research projects and work placements. They also receive guidance though the university application and interview process, mentoring, support from a team of ambassadors recruited from among the university’s students, plus an intensive A Level revision “boot camp.”  

At the end of the programme, students meeting the admissions criteria will be able to apply for a subsidised place at the new Aston Medical School, or could opt for another healthcare degree course in a wide range of subjects such as pharmacy, optometry, audiology and biomedical sciences. They would also be supported in applying to other medical schools.


Notes to the editor

Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare Programme  Year 12 pupils selected for the programme must meet at least one of the following criteria: be in receipt of a means-tested bursary (eg 16-19 Bursary); be eligible, or have been, for free school meals during secondary education (Ever 6); be from a local authority care background; be from a family where neither parent has attended university.  They must also have attained B grades, or above, in five GCSE subjects including mathematics, English language, chemistry, biology or double science. 

Sir Doug Ellis  is deeply committed to Birmingham and to Aston University and is one of the city’s leading philanthropists. He assisted the university to undertake the refurbishment of the Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre which benefits students and staff and the local community. He is recognised as the pioneer of the package holiday industry and his other business activities have included electronics, insurance, farming and retailing. He was Chairman of Aston Villa Football Club for 35 years and is now the club's Honorary Life President. Sir Doug was awarded the OBE for services to football and the community in 2004 and received an Honorary Degree from Aston in 2007.

Aston Medical School is scheduled to open its doors to its first MBChB medical students in the autumn of 2018. In addition to 20 places for local* students from disadvantaged areas and backgrounds, the School will accept up to 80 international* medical students each year.

All new medical schools in the UK have to be accredited by the General Medical Council (GMC) before they can open to undergraduates. In 2016 the GMC introduced a new, more stringent and lengthier accreditation programme and schools must achieve all five stages before approval will be given by the GMC’s board. Aston Medical School is the first to apply for accreditation under the revised scheme. *subject to change    www.astonmedicalschool.com

Aston University.  Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966,Aston Universityhas been always been a force for change. For 50 years the University has been transforming lives through pioneering research, innovative teaching and graduate employability success. Aston is renowned for its opportunity enabler through broad access and inspiring academics, providing education that is applied and has real impact on all areas of society, business and industry.

For media queries, contact Susi Turner, press & PR officer, on 0121 204 4978 or s.j.turner@aston.ac.uk  

More information about the programme, eligibility, how to apply, etc is here.

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