A £100,000 donation from Wesleyan Foundation is helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue careers in medicine and healthcare. Over 100 students from the West Midlands will benefit, creating a pipeline of future medical professionals from wider backgrounds and helping to fill the ongoing shortage of doctors, particularly acute in deprived areas including parts of Birmingham.
The Wesleyan Pathway to Medicine and Pathway to Healthcare programmes, run by Aston University, aim to level the playing field for younger students from non-traditional backgrounds to get the skills they need to successfully study healthcare disciplines at university. The programmes overcome some of the barriers these students have traditionally encountered by offering a variety of healthcare subject taster sessions and work experience preparation workshops, as well as guidance on how to make a successful university application and support to achieve the right academic qualifications.
Nathan Wallis, Chief of Staff at Wesleyan, said: “The shortage of medical practitioners across the UK is a huge problem and we’re proud to be extending our partnership with Aston University to support future healthcare professionals by providing support not readily available to them.
“The medical profession attracts few students from the lowest economic groups so this project will bring new talent to the sector and help create a more diverse pipeline of candidates. This benefits not only the students but also our communities as we develop the next generation of healthcare workers.
“As a business that’s been in Birmingham for over 180 years and a mutual, we’re pleased to have this opportunity to invest in future talent, the region and the professions we serve. We wish everyone participating in the programme the best of luck in their careers and look forward to following their progress.”
Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, at Aston University said: “Our Pathways programmes are an amazing asset, extending learning opportunities to students aged 16-18 across the West Midlands region and providing them with the skills and confidence to apply to university courses. This generous donation from the Wesleyan Foundation will make a profound difference in the lives of pupils across the region and will provide significant support to those entering the healthcare sector. Thank you, Wesleyan Foundation, for your generous support.”
The programmes run for 18 months and are aimed at students aged between 16-18 years from more than 36 schools across the West Midlands. Results showed that 73% of students on previous programmes went on to study medicine and healthcare.