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What is your background?

I left high school in 6th year, having gained the “Top of Biology” award for my year three years in a row, so it was an obvious decision for me to go on to do a biology-related course at university. I started my degree (BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science) at Glasgow Caledonian University in September 2011, and graduated in July 2015 with BSc in Applied Biomedical Science with First Class Honours. I was also awarded the IBMS President’s Prize for best overall performance on my degree programme, and given my Certificate of Competence to practise as a Biomedical Scientist. During my time at university, I took part in a few placement experiences; the first of which was Bio-images in 2013, the second an NHS placement in the GRI/Gartnavel Haematology laboratories, which allowed me to complete my IBMS Registration Portfolio.  In 2014, I entered the first annual SDS Life Sciences CV Competition, and won a 12-week placement at TC BioPharm, which was a fantastic experience. In June 2015, I started my current role as a Development Scientist at Quotient, Edinburgh, working on the MosaiQTM project.

Would you recommend the programme to students?

I would definitely recommend the programme to students. The benefits are numerous, the key benefit being the opportunity to improve your employability. Even if you are unsuccessful, you’ll get constructive feedback on your CV, which will allow you to improve it – this could be the difference between getting, or not getting, an interview. If you are successful, you will be able to gain valuable work experience in industry, where you’ll learn about the relevant regulatory bodies to the Life Sciences industry, general knowledge of working in industry, and specific skills related to your placement that you can add to your CV. Having relevant work experience will help you a great deal when applying for jobs after university, something that I found out first hand.

It’s also a great opportunity for networking – the awards ceremony (and other such events) always comes with a chance to meet with people from the industry, allowing you to ask them questions and meet local life science employers.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to current students?

Get experience, and get your face/name out there – the Life Sciences programme is a fantastic opportunity to do both. Unfortunately, even having a fantastic degree isn’t quite enough to set you apart from all the other candidates for a role, and anything you can do to make yourself stand out from other graduates is a great bonus. Nobody will expect you to enter into a new role and know exactly what you are doing without training, but having prior knowledge of things like SOPs, GMP and quality management systems etc., will stand you in good stead and put you ahead of other graduates when you go on to start your career.