Gateway to Medicine programme wins innovation award

September 21, 2021

A programme designed to support promising school pupils from rural and less advantaged backgrounds who want to study medicine has been recognised with an innovation award.

North East Scotland College and The University of Aberdeen, with support from NHS Grampian, developed Gateway2Medicine in order to help secondary pupils overcome some of the potential barriers they may face in applying to study medicine.

The joint initiative won the Pearson HE Innovate Award for Most innovative approach to widening participation in the curriculum.

Since it was launched in 2017, 87 students have completed the programme and gone on to successfully apply to study medicine.

The programme was established because it was recognised that young people from less advantaged or more remote areas in Scotland may face barriers to a career in medicine. For example, some schools may not be able to offer all the subjects required in one year for standard entry to medicine or there may be challenges in accessing work experience opportunities.

The programme helps deliver a sustainable workforce for the future of the NHS and helps meet Scottish Government targets to widen access to higher education. The Commission for Widening Access has set a target that by 2030 students from the 20% most deprived backgrounds should represent 20% of entrants to higher education in Scotland.

“Ensuring every learner has the opportunity to fulfil their potential is central to the College’s ambitions and we are proud to work with the University of Aberdeen on a programme which has opened new pathways to careers in medicine,” said NESCol Principal Neil Cowie. “We look forward to continuing to build on the foundations that have been set and to supporting students taking their first steps towards exciting opportunities. To be recognised externally for our innovative approach to widening access is a fantastic endorsement for the teams at the College and University who have worked so closely together.”

Professor Stephen Davies, G2M academic lead for the University of Aberdeen, said: “Programmes such as G2M are designed to ensure that pupils from rural or less advantaged backgrounds have the same opportunities as everyone else.

“We believe widening participation in medicine is key, both to address inequality for those from social and geographically disadvantaged situations and to create a diverse environment that benefits all our students and medical practice in Scotland.

“This award is testimony to the positive change our further and higher education sectors can achieve when they collaborate to create truly innovative initiatives.”

Marlene Olsavsky, Senior Vice President, International Higher Education, Pearson, said: “Covid has forced UK universities to create new and inventive ways of working, teaching and supporting students. The quality we’ve seen across the hundred plus submissions received for our Awards demonstrates how UK universities are more than capable of meeting this challenge.

“Tonight’s Awards have been designed to showcase the stunning breadth of innovation going on every day in our UK universities, from making learning as engaging as possible, to connecting with as wide and diverse an audience as possible, to ensuring students graduate equipped with the workforce skills they need to succeed in life.

“I congratulate every single entrant to these, our first ever Pearson UK HE Innovate Awards. I hope our UK universities take time to look at the impressive range of projects shortlisted and learn from each other and I’m already looking forward to seeing what projects are put forward next year.”