Widening Participation Fellows Impact on the Local Community

Manchester Medical School students Jess Azmy and Umair Gondal have delivered and developed an innovative workshop as University Widening Participation Fellows (WP Fellows) to encourage pre-GCSE students from state schools across Greater Manchester to consider medicine.

The workshop was delivered as part of The Manchester Gateways Programme event ‘Access to the Professions days: Healthcare’. Activities involved students using medical apparatus to test their reflexes and measure blood pressure.

Jess commented: “At one event, Umair and I used red and blue balloons as well as bamboo sticks, to show how the lungs work to groups of Year 9 students. Watching the fascination of pupils when they use the stethoscopes to listen to their own hearts has been another highlight.”

Umair added: “Developing the workshops is probably the most exciting part about my job. Most of the time I am the first person from the University the students have ever encountered so giving them an insight into what I do at university and possibly opening their eyes to new career choices gives me great satisfaction. I thoroughly enjoy sharing my experience with students and it is great giving students the advice and guidance to really make a difference to their life.”

WP Fellows are students who act as ambassadors for their academic courses and the University, helping to bridge the gap between local communities and higher education. Helen Franklin, Widening Participation and Student Experience Officer and Dr Enam Haque, Academic Lead for Widening Participation support the WP fellows in their role.

Jess said: “We are really lucky at Manchester Meducal School to have our own WP team which includes Helen Franklin and Dr Enam Haque. They are an invaluable source of support and help us plan and organise the activities, making sure they run smoothly. The events would not be possible without them and their enthusiasm for WP is infectious!”

To find out more about the WP programme contact Helen Franklin.