An aspiring medic from Barrow Sixth Form College has set up a forum to allow like-minded students to make contacts in medicine and get a valuable insight into their chosen career.

Toby Wilson started Furness Future Medics Forum to overcome the boundaries of work experience in a pandemic.

Toby, who is studying biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics at the Rating Lane campus and is part of the Honours programme for top achieving students, was inspired to set up the forum after participating in some online work experience and attending a conference.

“During this year, it has not been possible to undertake work experience or shadowing of doctors in the normal way due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so I decided to set up the Furness Future Medics Forum," he said.

“I knew that for people like myself, who don’t have family contacts, it’s not always that easy to make connections with other medics.

“In developing this group, I decided that I would try to find doctors, healthcare professionals and students who have come from the local area to talk about their journey into medicine and pass on any advice they have gained along the way to the students at Barrow Sixth Form who are interested in studying medicine.”

Former student Jacob McSweeney, who is now in his third year studying medicine at Lancaster University, shared his experience as a guest speaker in January.

Toby said: “Jacob’s talk helped us understand what it is really like to apply to medical school. There was a larger audience than I thought there would be, with 10 first-year college students joining us on the Teams meeting. The feedback was really positive.”

Trainee GP Hannah Kolbe has also held an online talk.

Assistant head Helen Rastelli said: “We think Toby’s student-led approach bringing everyone together will give them extra motivation to apply for degree courses and support each other’s ambitions.”