Published on: 17 July 2019

An event to encourage students from all backgrounds to pursue careers in Medicine will be held at Sunderland Royal Hospital on Friday, July 26th.

It is part of a full day’s programme - the first of its kind in the North East organised by the Social Mobility Foundation, the University of Sunderland’s new School of Medicine and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

About 20 16 and 17-year-olds from all over the region will be given an insight at the university into the application process for studying Medicine, including mock interviews. They will then each have the opportunity to speak to clinicians from 12 of the trust’s specialities, such as Orthopaedics and Anaesthetics, in a ‘careers carousel’ at Sunderland Royal Hospital. During this, they will find out about the doctors’ own medical school experiences, as well as information about their specialities and their day-to-day responsibilities.

Trust Medical Director Dr Shaz Wahid, who will be at the careers carousel, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this innovative approach to nurturing the medical ambitions of bright young people who would make excellent doctors but who don’t have the support and the networks available to them to make their dreams a reality.”

Dr Mark Shipley, the trust’s Director of Undergraduate Clinical Studies, who has helped to organise the event, added: “Everyone at the trust has been hugely supportive and we had no problem at all in recruiting clinicians to give their time. A number of colleagues had to fight against the odds to get into Medicine and they were only too pleased to give something back in this way and help to open the door for others to follow.”

Professor Scott Wilkes, Head of the School of Medicine and Professor of General Practice and Primary Care at the University of Sunderland, said: “I am delighted to be welcoming the Social Mobility Foundation to our School of Medicine and to offer our expertise to students, giving them experience and coaching on the medical school multi, mini-interview process. For us, it is very important to ensure able students from less advantaged backgrounds can compete on a level playing field in the final stage of the application process.”

The Social Mobility Foundation is a charity which was founded in 2005 in order to provide opportunities and networks of support for 16 and 17-year-olds who are unable to get them from their schools or families.

Katie Stamps, Senior Aspiring Professionals Programme Co-ordinator with the foundation, said: “With the children of doctors being 24 times more likely to enter the medical profession than their peers, we are delighted to work with the University of Sunderland’s School of Medicine and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust to level the playing field for bright North East students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Medicine is the most inherited elite profession and whilst our students are very driven to pursue this as a career, they lack the networks around them to secure work experience and insights often gained very easily by students who are already connected to professionals working in the sector.

“This is the first year we have been able to run a full, mini mock interview experience for students in the North East, alongside the opportunity to get an insight into 12 different medical specialities. Our students are in for a fantastic day which provides them with essential knowledge to help them with their next steps towards Medicine.”