Durham University “changed my life”
(18 November 2009)
Dr Jay Walker left school at 16 with no qualifications other than a swimming certificate.
“And that doesn’t get you very far – about 10 metres,” he said.
He spent seven years in the Army with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers before deciding he wanted to embark upon a career in medicine.
Now the former Stockton-on-Tees schoolboy is a Senior House Officer training to be a plastic surgeon in the NHS thanks to the support of Durham University.
Jay, 33, admitted that the prospect of entering higher education was daunting and he worried that his background might be a barrier to becoming a doctor.
But after enrolling on an access course at Durham University’s Foundation Centre, he realised he could achieve his goals.
The Foundation Centre, based at Durham’s Queen’s Campus, in Stockton, provided him with the support, skills and knowledge needed to embark on an undergraduate medical degree course.
Jay, a married father-of-two, from Bearpark, in County Durham, was also the Mature Students’ Officer at Queen’s, helping to organise social events for other students.
He completed a two-year diploma in Medical Sciences at Durham before finishing his training at Newcastle University where he graduated as a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS).
He said: “Durham University changed my life unbelievably and it can do that for anyone who is looking for a first-class education and a good time.
“The University gave me the opportunity to be whoever I wanted to be as long as I was prepared to do the work and meet the standards expected of me.
“It opens you up to new opportunities and shows you what you can achieve if you put the work in.
“I got all the support I needed to get me started in medicine and I will always think of Durham as home.”