Shayan graduated from his Medicine degree in 2014 and is currently in his second Foundation Year, working at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton. His first contact with the University of Birmingham was back in 2004 when he attended the Year 10 Health Summer School.

‘The week-long event opened my eyes to higher education, university life and to the world of medicine. Talks from the admissions tutor at the Medical School and practical sessions put on by current students inspired me to apply to such a challenging course. I had a goal to work towards with my GCSEs when I went back to school after the summer. Prior to this event, I had no idea that I wanted to go on to university, as I had no family members to guide me into higher education; most of my family had been to secondary school, but no one had ever gone to university.

‘In college I applied for the AEP. Again I applied for the Health Stream due to my desire to study medicine and because of how much the Year 10 summer school had helped me. The week-long residential introduced me to students currently studying Medicine, one of whom was to become my mentor for the following year. I gained further experience of university life and made friends with people that helped me along the way at college and with whom I’m still in touch to this day. It was also at this summer school I heard about the Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme and its scholarship that was available to students with a background like mine. I didn’t realise how useful this scheme would be for the following five years of study at Birmingham, one I am so grateful for.

‘In my first year I became a student ambassador for the University. I got involved with both the Year 10 and AEP summer residential programmes, as I had first-hand experience of what a difference these programmes make and wanted to continue inspiring students to come and study. I have mentored many AEP students over the five years I have done the programme, many of whom are now studying medicine here at Birmingham.

‘The support for me didn’t stop once I entered university. Becoming a student ambassador meant I was joining a family at university, one that looked after their students and gave them opportunities to grow in character and develop skills along the way. I have become so much more confident in myself; I used to be nervous about speaking in large groups or to lecture halls full of people, however that no longer fazes me.

‘In my fourth year, I applied to study for an intercalated degree at Imperial College London. I graduated in July 2013 with a degree in Medical Sciences for Infection and Immunity. Without my initial experience of university life and having had the chance to apply to Birmingham, I would not have had the opportunity to apply for a second degree at another prestigious institution.

‘I would not be where I am today without the support of the Outreach team at Birmingham and the various programmes on offer. Without it, I would never have thought to apply to university and without the A2B scheme I would not have been confident enough to apply to such a competitive and demanding course. It has opened so many doors for me.

‘I am now teaching other medical students and also helping those students I first mentored on AEP.’