College helps fill skills gap in NHS as Science students secure employment
Friday, 5 May, 2017

Last September saw the first cohort of students embark on their studies towards a Foundation Degree in Applied Biosciences at Solihull College & University Centre, and just 7 months into the course, student Kelly Boyd has already secured herself employment within the field.

The Foundation Degree is accredited by Oxford Brookes University; however, all of the studying is completed locally in Solihull allowing students like Kelly to work around other commitments. Kelly, who was previously working in retail, decided that she wanted to take on a new challenge and progress within her career to support her children. Kelly had an interest within Science, specifically Paramedical Science and enrolled on to the Access to HE Science course at Solihull College & University Centre.

Kelly progressed well with the Access to HE course and made the decision to continue with her studies to the Foundation Degree in Applied Biosciences.

Andrew Schneider, Head of School for Science at the College commented “We developed the Foundation Degree, working with two NHS Foundation Trusts and other employers, to develop skills of people within the region to fill the gaps currently seen in hospital laboratories. Partnering with Heart of England and University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trusts allows our students to gain invaluable work placements in a real hospital setting.”

Kelly completed her work placement at Heartlands Hospital where she was able to use what she had learnt in College and transfer these skills into the labs at the hospital. Kelly commented “Having use of the facilities at the College, including the Life Science labs, has given me a lot of experience and confidence in the real world. My work placement at Heartlands Hospital helped me to develop the direction I wanted to take my career in and without the Foundation Degree and the work placement I would not have felt confident enough to start applying for jobs in the sector.”

The College recently developed their Science facilities, partly funded by the Local Enterprise Partnership, and now have fantastic laboratories which match the specification of the NHS. Students such as Kelly have been able to take advantage of having these facilities at their fingertips whilst studying and are now reaping the rewards.

Kelly secured a position with Sandwell Hospital as a phlebotomist after impressing in her interview. She commented “Much of what was asked of me in my interview for the role at Sandwell Hospital, such as Infection Control, I had already covered on the Foundation Degree. I was able to draw on my experience from my studies to help secure the job.”

Kelly will now continue her studies to complete her Foundation Degree whilst working part-time in her new role at Sandwell Hospital.

Find out more about Solihull College & University Centre’s Science courses.

Kelly Boyd, science student