The Mullany Fund received £486,630 of National Lottery money earlier this year to expand their e-mentoring 1+1 project to new areas. The project works through schools and voluntary organisations who are working with harder to reach young people, to widen participation within life-science professions and raise aspirations and educational attainment among young people from under-represented communities with low social mobility. They are one of 12 projects that received £3.26 million for employment projects over the last year. We spoke to Jarrod Thomas who has been through the programme.
Hello, I am Jarrod Thomas, 20 years old, a former mentee of the Mullany Fund and an incoming mentor in the next cohort of mentees, and will be the sole mentor based in Aberystwyth. I am currently an undergraduate student studying Biochemistry at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), an internationally-recognised teaching research centre at Aberystwyth University.
I joined the Mullany Fund when I was in Comprehensive School, back in 2015, three years ago, the reason was to received tailored advice on careers in life science, and to talk to someone in the field, whether they were studying or a clinician. I was matched with a junior doctor and then later a medical student, very similar – but incredibly distinct roles which highlighted the significant differences between clinical education and clinical practice.
There were a number of things I did as part of the project. I had the opportunity to attend residential workshops in London, at the University College London Hospital and University College London Hospitals Education Centre (UCLH Education Centre), where I worked with minimum access surgery machines, had introductions to emergency medicine and resuscitation training, looked at the systematic approach to assessing an acutely ill patient, through ABCDE (Airways, Breathing, Circulation, Disability and Exposure), medical ethics, considering the health of the nation. As part of the residential programme, I also had the chance to visit the Royal College of Surgeons of England – Hunterian Museum. Along with the Hunterian Museum, I had the privilege to look inside and talk to staff of the new Macmillan Cancer Centre, one of the homes of Teenage Cancer Trust and actively watch the secure preparation of chemotherapy drugs in a lab.
The project saw me talk to my mentors about the legal aspects of care, such as Gillicks Competence, and reporting complex matters to the police, but also managing the responsibility of doctor-patient confidentiality barrier, and suspected abuse, highlighting issues and benefits of POVA (Protection of Vulnerable Adults) and DoLS (Deprivation of Library Safeguards) as part of the MCA (Mental Capacity Act, 2015); along with safeguarding etc. My other mentoring experience saw us talk more specialised about university applications to medical schools and life-science institutes, the working conditions, post-graduate study, CVs, personal statements. We also discussed effective study skills and managing exams and exam technique, these discussions were invaluable and with effort and determination saw me receive two unconditional offers and two conditionals from my four universities of choice. Hence, the project has made a significant difference to my current academic career. Throughout the project, I also had the opportunity to be part of a number of videos/ clips, one of which is available on YouTube.
Other than what was previously mentioned, the project saw one grow in confidence, writing skills and gain in knowledge.
I would most certainly recommend this project to all, it provides a unique opportunity for pupils and students to receive key support with university applications by providing insights into the process from first-hand experiences. The project also allows mentees to have help writing CVs and tailing cover letters for employment and/or other positions. Mentors are able to offer a different perspective on certain situations that may help some people who may be the first to attend university in their immediate family, as were I. This project is free to all that sign up and wish to take part, and everyone has the opportunity, and ultimately no one has anything to lose, but most certainly a lot to gain. Mentors are trained extensively to ensure that the platform is a safe place for open dialogue relating to education, careers and life choices, and the e-mentoring platform is highly moderated to ensure there are no problems and where they do present, take swift action to prevent any issues. The site is a secure alternatively to personally emailing mentors and mentees. I would highly encourage anyone to take part in the project, and when you do, message your mentor as often as possible to ensure you benefit from the project as much as possible, as it does not only help you as a mentee, it also helps your mentor to develop key skills and share similar experiences to you, some which will always stay with your mentor throughout their lives.
Opportunities like these do not often arise where you are able to benefit directly from 1 to 1 mentoring.
With that in mind, I would like to take the time to thank all the National Lottery players for taking part in weekly draws and contributing to the opportunities the Mullany Fund provide in trying to tackle social mobility and educational inequality in Wales, and all the other projects the National Lottery fund supports. On behalf of the Mullany Fund and myself, diolch yn fawr iawn / thank you very much.