Graduate’s university ‘experiment’ lands him a place with top science programme

A University of Northampton (UON) graduate has seen off a hundred other applicants to secure a place on a prestigious, national science programme.

Kamil Choudhury, from Bromley, has just finished his degree in Biomedical Science but is already ‘experimenting’ with success with a highly sought-after place on the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).

It’s a career option Kamil thought closed to him, and he nearly missed out on his first step toward it, as he explains: “After I finished my GCSEs, I developed an interest in science, anatomy, and health. But these career options weren’t on the table for me as I wasn’t the most committed of A-Level students and didn’t quite get the grades to go directly to medical school. So, I thought I’d take a sideways approach and look at science, and biomedical science looked very interesting.

“I researched a few degrees and noticed University of Northampton was about to start its first Biomedical Sciences degree and the course covered areas I really wanted to know more about, such as cancer. Coupled with the University being on a new campus, it captured my attention.

“I thought my exam grades would be an issue, but I called their Clearing line anyway to get their advice and was happily surprised when they offered me a place. They saw my potential and took a chance on me and for that I will always be extremely grateful.

“The main thing I enjoyed about my degree was my dissertation. I was part of a research group looking into the bioenergetics of Alzheimer’s and I may not have had that opportunity elsewhere. My supervisor went above and beyond. He gave me real push from him that made me believe in myself.”

With that extra push, Kamil completed the course and, this summer, received the good news he had gained a First Class Honours degree, giving him the extra confidence to take one more big step and enrol on the Scientist Training Programme.

The STP is a Health Education England initiative that helps science graduates get their feet in the clinical door. It’s a fully funded three-year programme of work and learning that gives them the knowledge, and skills of a newly qualified Clinical Scientist in the NHS, gaining a Master’s degree in the process.

Many in the programme work directly with patients, something of obvious interest to Kamil. He continues: “I almost didn’t consider applying for the STP – I honestly thought they wouldn’t even respond! – but one of my lecturers sat me down and convinced me to at least give it a shot to find out.

“It’s a very, very competitive programme; about a hundred applied for the speciality I was interested in – Clinical Care – and 7,604 people applied for the programme as a whole! There were six positions nationally for Critical Care, so I feel very blessed and proud to have earned a place.”

The place Kamil was accepted on to is at the renowned Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Cambridge, the only placement available with them. Now fully settled into the training, Kamil concludes this part of his career story: “What attracted me is that via this route you are working with patients in a real-world, NHS setting, not only as a student but it will feel like I’m an actual employee. I’m learning, working and earning, so I get the career hat-trick.

“My family are ecstatic, absolutely over the moon, especially considering where I was just a few years ago. The STP is an incredible opportunity, and I feel I have a secure future. A lot of the burden on my parents has lifted because I can support myself and, if needed, support them in the future.”

Find out more about the Biomedical Science degree at the University of Northampton.

See the Health Education England website for more about the Scientist Training Programme.

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