skip to content

Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre


The ADRC’s Non-Medical Helper (NMH) Scheme provides disabled students at the University of Cambridge with the additional enabling human support they require to complete their course.

Non-Medical Helpers (NMHs) are recruited from applicants with suitable academic backgrounds, attributes, and qualifications. Our pool of NMHs include students at the University (who have been granted prior permission from their College), academics at the University, teachers, psychologists, and members of the Cambridge community with a variety of other professional backgrounds.

Please note: students studying courses at the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) other that MST students are not covered by the remit of the Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre and DSAs support for band 3 & 4 including study skills and mentoring would need to be provided by DSAs as they are not formally matriculated students of the University

 Support provided by the NMH Scheme includes:

  • Manual Note-taking
  • Peer Note-taking
  • Library Assistance
  • Practical Support Assistance
  • Laboratory Assistance
  • Proofreading
  • Examination Support (Amanuensis or Reader)
  • Specialist Transcription
  • Specialist Mentoring
  • Specialist 1:1 Study Skills Support

The ADRC recruits, trains, and manages NMHs. We match NMHs to disabled students who require any of the support tasks listed above. NMH support is mainly funded through the University of Cambridge Reasonable Adjustment Fund for new students, though other students will use Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) and other sources of funds are available.

If you are a disabled student at the University interested in finding out more about how the scheme could be of benefit to you, please contact the ADRC to meet with an Adviser.

If you are interested in becoming an NMH, please view our Prospective NMHs page. If you are currently working as an NMH, you will find useful information on our Current NMHs page.

Below is a description of each of the NMH support roles that the ADRC provides:

Manual Note-taker

Take notes on a student’s behalf and produce an accurate and legible handwritten record of the content of lectures, seminars, and discussions in the student’s preferred style and format.

Peer Note-taker

When a student is already attending lectures that a disabled student requires notes for, they may be able to act as a Peer Note-taker. They will be asked to provide clear legible notes and paid. 

Library Assistance

Help students to search library catalogues, locate materials, collect materials, photocopy etc.

Practical Support Assistance

Provide practical and mobility support to assist a student with a physical impairment in manoeuvring around campus. This could include helping to manipulate a wheelchair, carrying books and IT equipment. It also includes general orientation and finding out where things are located for students.

Laboratory Assistance

Support a student in gaining access to practical aspects of their course, e.g. in the laboratory.

Proof Reading

Read through the student’s work and point out the types of errors that the student has made in grammar/punctuation/structure etc. and suggest ways of rectifying this in the future.

Examinations Support Worker

Act as an exam reader, scribe, and exam prompter. It can include reading out the examination paper, writing down the student’s answers using exactly the words used by the student and giving a prompt as to when it is time to move on to another question.

Specialist Transcription Service

Transcribe lecture notes, seminar notes, oral dictation, or audio files into an alternative format accessible to the student.

Specialist Mentoring

Provide highly specialist, specifically tailored one-to-one support which helps students address the barriers to learning created by a particular impairment, e.g. mental-health conditions or Autistic Spectrum Disorders. This could include a range of issues. For example, coping with anxiety and stress situations, how to deal with concentration difficulties, time management, prioritising workload, and creating a suitable work-life balance.

Specialist 1:1 Study Skills Support

This support addresses the issues which some students might have in acquiring, recalling, and retaining information in written and spoken language, as well as the range of memory, organisational, attention, and numeracy difficulties that students with Specific Learning Difficulties often face when working at university.