A NEWLY qualified podiatrist who left school without qualifications is now aiming to become a doctor, writes Zoe Daniel.

John Darlington has achieved a first class Bsc (Hons) degree in Podiatry from Queen Margaret University.

And he now plans to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.

The 25-year-old left Kelso High School after years a lack of confidence prevented any academic achievement.

But an opportunity was presented by Queen Margaret's in Edinburgh, which John grabbed.

He explained: "Queen Margaret University staff looked beyond my immediate academic achievement and assessed more widely my abilities and potential.

"This was of vital importance for someone in my position, having until this stage underperformed academically due to a number of extenuating circumstances.

“Encouraging wider participation from those who might not perhaps have previously considered attending university is an area where Queen Margaret University shows real strength through its welcoming, accommodating and confidence-building approach.”

It was during a Queen Margaret open day that John opted for podiatry after gaining an earlier interest for health care.

And now he is aiming to take his studies along the M8 to Glasgow in a bid to become a doctor.

He added: “With its small class size, podiatry at Queen Margaret University almost felt like you were being taught one-on-one, getting to know each lecturer well throughout the years of study.

"This was very important to me in terms of both gaining reassurance and helping to focus my studies.

“Patient contact started within the first couple of months of the first year.

"This may sound daunting but with the help and support of teaching staff it proved to be a lot of fun and introduced some essential clinical skills early on.

"During my degree, I developed an increasing interest and enthusiasm for medical studies and was always encouraged in this by my lecturers.”