A former university level Science student from Solihull College & University Centre is leading a team of 50 Medical Laboratory Assistants at the QE Hospital in Birmingham.
After completing his AS levels, Marc Litchfield, now 28, felt a bit lost until he and a friend came along to an open day at the College. He enrolled on the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science – the equivalent to 3 A-levels.
His love of science sparked when he was a child. He comments: “My Mom was a science teacher, so science always had a prevalent place in my house growing up. My Dad dealt with physics type science, my mom was more biology/microbiology, so I tried to fill the gap and found a love for chemistry – although looking back I think it’s because these were the fun lessons in school where we set things on fire and blew things up – safely of course!”
After a period away from education out in the working world, Mark found out the College was offering a university level Science course, the next step after his Level 3, so applied straight away.
“I was offered the opportunity to do that course on the spot, but I was warned this required a serious commitment. I gave it my everything – I was supported just as much as I was during college, and I came out with first class honours. The support of the tutors and lab staff at the College was paramount to my success.
“All the staff were amazing, knowledgeable and willing to entertain any question which led to some really good discussions, the lab facilities were brilliant, and run by a great team.”
During his course, Marc completed a placement at the QE which involved Specimen Reception, Biochemistry, Haematology, Microbiology and Cellular Pathology. He was then offered a position on their internal agency which meant he could quit his bartending job.
Working there full-time alongside his course was big positive: “It made the connection between what I was doing at university and what I was doing at work stronger. One of the things we did at work ended up as the basis for one of my studies I completed as part of my modules – looking for a link between patient glucose levels and cardiovascular health.”
Marc is now a team leader in specimen reception at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, responsible for around 50 members of staff. He’s almost completed his IBMS training portfolio which will result in Marc being a HCPC registered biomedical scientist. He’s also applying for the clinical scientist training programme and would love to progress on to becoming a consultant.