Believe it or not, the idea for EdStarts fell out of a deep, late-night conversation amongst students in a tiny university dorm-room in West London! As medical students, many of us would frequently be asked for advice about how to get into medical school - this is something we’d usually be able to help with, as we’d all been through the process of applying to study medicine, and learnt a huge amount from it. Unfortunately, there’d always be a hurdle; after advising students that they needed to obtain work experience in a hospital or GP practice before applying to medical school, the next question was always something along with lines of “How do we get work experience?” or “Can you help me with organising some?”. There would be no straightforward answer to this question - medical work experience can be really difficult to obtain, especially if you don’t know someone working in the field that can help organise it for you. The less-than-ideal alternative is to pay extortionate fees to companies that organise summer schools, university taster days or work experience abroad.
After many hours of late-night chatting, we came up with a solution - TasteMedicine, our first course, was born. We designed 2-day workshop, which enabled students to try their hand at some of the practical skills that we had learnt during medical school, whilst also covering some theory in the form of interesting patient cases. We’d teach the course ourselves, and wanted to foster a relaxed atmosphere in which students could ask any questions they wanted about medical school, applying to it, and being a doctor. Whilst we couldn’t take students with us around a hospital, this would at least enable them to gain some experience of what it’s like to study medicine, so they could decide if it really was for them - essentially serving the same purpose as medical work experience. Crucially, we wanted to make sure the course was affordably priced and accessible to all - unfortunately, medicine as a career is more accessible to some than others and we always felt a responsibility to help tackle this - money should never be a barrier to education.
We aimed to run the course a few months later, hoping for a handful of bookings so we might make a bit of extra money to go travelling during the summer holidays. The response was far better than we could have imagined - we’d had a flurry of bookings within the first couple of weeks, and had to upscale the course! Parents and students were contacting us on a daily basis, asking if we had any future courses organised because they couldn’t make the set dates - there was a real demand for what we created. Fortunately, the first course proved to be a resounding success, and we’ve gone from strength to strength since then - hundreds of students have attended TasteMedicine, with universally excellent feedback. We’ve also taken on board suggestions, and tried to make the course the absolute best it can be.
When we had the idea for TasteMedicine years ago, we had hoped to eventually be able to apply the same principle to other university subjects, as the issues we were addressing definitely weren’t specific to medicine. After 3 years of running TasteMedicine, we were approached by various people with ideas of expanding into other fields, such as dentistry and law, and we agreed that it was the right time to go for it. It took some time to get the right people on board, but we were eventually able to design two more courses that would hopefully live up to the standards that TasteMedicine had set - TasteDentistry and TasteLaw started up in 2018.
It’s still early days with TasteDentistry and TasteLaw, but both new courses have been received extremely well so far, and we’ve managed to iron out a few kinks. We’ve got a great team of professionals from the respective fields behind each course, and we’re confident that they’ll match, if not surpass TasteMedicine over the coming years. We’re also hoping to expand and run courses in different locations around the UK, amongst a load of other exciting ideas, so watch this space!