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The Sir James Knott donation supporting the widening of participation for medical students

Meet Jacob, one of our Sir James Knott Outreach Ambassadors, who discusses the impact that the donation is having.

In 2019, we were delighted to receive a £300,000 donation from the Sir James Knott Trust, to mark the retirement of Emeritus Professor Oliver James (former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Medical Science) as Chair of the Trust. The Sir James Knott Medical Student Support Fund was set up for the benefit of students from the North East to help them enrol as Medical students at Newcastle University. It is starting to have a real impact on our aspiring doctors, clinicians and academics.

This year, our Medical School recruited six Sir James Knott Outreach Ambassadors who helped deliver some of our widening access programmes, showing that a Medical degree can be possible for anyone. 

We strongly believe that our current Widening Participation (WP) students are the best advocates for the programme. One of those Ambassadors is Jacob, about to start his third year studying Medicine. Jacob talks about the important work he has been doing helping to make a degree like Medicine more accessible. 

“The work we have done as Sir James Knott Outreach Ambassadors has been essential. Working within the Newcastle Medical School Admissions Office, we have produced a plethora of opportunities for secondary school and A-level students to engage with Medical students and healthcare professionals. This shows them that being a doctor is for everyone. These opportunities can be eye-opening for kids thinking about a medical career with no other ways to get a practical insight into what that entails. I should know, as it was an event like this that helped me build the confidence to apply to Medicine as a working-class student. 

“In practice, this means running open days at the Medical School, talking to students about university life, running courses on the application process, and developing a mentoring programme for more long-term networking between the students and Ambassadors. I've found it's often the most routine realities of medicine that inspires these students the most, be it anatomy demonstrations or explaining pathology of a certain disease, and it is endlessly rewarding to see the light sparkle in their eyes. Programmes like these are what make Newcastle one of the leading universities in the area of widening participation, but most importantly to me, they do change lives for the better.”

Find out more about how you can support students.

Jacob, Sir James Knott Outreach Ambassador

published on: 21 October 2020