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Women in science - Adult learner turned Podiatrist thanks to NWRC's Access course

10 February 2022
Caroline kelly podiatrist

Caroline Kelly

Where are you from?

I am from the Waterside in Derry/Londonderry

Course studied at NWRC?

Access Diploma in Science, full time

Previous education before you came to MWRC?

I finished school at 16 with 2 GCSE’s, I then completed a Business Administration NVQ with Word Processing Level 2, ECDL and Level 2 English. I went on to complete, Open University Level 4 Health and Social Care, Reflexology, and other short courses.

Why did you choose to study at NWRC?

I wanted to apply to study Podiatry at Ulster University and needed science/maths at level 3, after looking at various courses I decided on the Access in Science as I could complete it in one year.

Tell me about your course.

I was almost 20 years out of school when I started the course, so to begin with I struggled with the basics of chemistry, biology, and physics. I enjoyed maths at school, so I was able to pick that up again relatively easy. The lecturers on the course were excellent, especially when I was struggling, they took time to explain things and they were all very passionate about their subjects which made learning more fun (I never knew there were so many science jokes). The course included practical classes, computer work, presentations, group work and written projects, and much more this prepared me for the degree course. NWRC also helped and advised us on the UCAS application.

What did you do afterwards?

I finished the Access course in June 2016 and started Podiatry at UUJ in the September that year. I obtained a first-class honours which I was delighted with, I had to work hard right from day one at NWRC until the final project at university was completed, so I felt a great sense of achievement when I finished. I graduated in June 2020 and began working in private practice immediately, then in September 2020, I started in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust as a band 5 podiatrist. In November 2021 a friend I who met in university opened our own private practice in Limavady.

What interested you in this career?

I wanted to go to university, but I had no idea what I wanted to do (even in my mid 30’s). Two of my closest friends are podiatrists and I spent some time with them in clinics and knew it was the right career for me. It is a varied career and there are lots of avenues you can take such as musculoskeletal clinics, surgery, management of diabetic foot disease, and much more. You can also work in the NHS or in private practice as an employee, self-employed or you can open and run your own practice. I love helping people especially when someone comes to an appointment in pain and 30 mins later, they leave pain-free.

Would you recommend this course to other students?

Yes, without a doubt. I gained knowledge and skills that helped me progress to university and onwards. I would recommend the course to anyone hoping to gain entry to university or higher-level education in any science field as it covers so much. The course is very well organised, and the lecturers are brilliant, there is so much support given by them and others, like library technicians and the staff at the maths centre, everyone wants you to do well and achieve the results you want/need to progress.

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