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After completing her foundation degree Debbie went on to the University of Plymouth, where she obtained a First.
Foundation Degree in Human Biosciences
North Devon Campus
I studied the Foundation Degree in Human Biosciences, obtaining a Distinction and then went on to the University of Plymouth to complete the third year and obtain a BSc in Human Biosciences, in which my final overall grade was a First.
I chose to study at Petroc because for me three years travelling to Plymouth would not have been possible. I have two children, both of which were at school at the time, I also worked part-time at NDDH as a clinical support worker, so Petroc allowed me to be able to travel, study, work and support my family without too much upheaval. To be honest if I had had to do all three years at Plymouth I honestly don't think I would have completed the course, let alone obtain a first.
At Petroc I learnt most of the laboratory skills that I would require for the third year of my degree, these included microscopy, Gram staining, polymerase chain reaction and using gel electrophoresis. These skills allowed me to confidently undertake my research in the lab at university, which was microbiology based and involved identifying isolates and finding antibiotic resistance genes.
Highlights at Petroc include the friends that I made whilst there, a small cohort meant that the lecturer to student ratio allowed plenty of time for questions and support and one in particular was inserting a gene in to E. coli and making it glow in the dark!!
I am currently not in a graduate post but my next step is to try and get a post at NDDH as a trainee biomedical scientist in the microbiology department. It would require me completing a few more modules to become IBMS approved and then state registered but that is my goal.
Razale is using the skills learnt on this course to forge a career in the local music industry.
FdA Music Performance
What made you enrol on a degree at Petroc?
I had always wanted to study music and also return to education. I never gained any qualifications from mainstream education as I was just not academic in conventional subjects. Also embarking on a degree course as a mature student was very daunting. However, I was determined to grasp this opportunity. Having a college within close proximity that offers all the incredible facilities made this possible. I did not want to travel or relocate. I was also attracted to the smaller scale community feel.
What were your highlights from your time with us?
Having enrolled as a vocalist it soon became apparent that it would greatly benefit me to learn an instrument. So being pushed into learning the guitar after many years of neglect opened up a whole new journey in terms of song-writing and composing. Whilst this is rudimentary level I have sought professional tuition to propel me into reaching the stage where I can accompany myself as a performer. Also organising my three day tour and the charity event were incredible experiences, offering insight into how live performance works. Undergoing these projects has made me realise it is not out of reach and very feasible to be out performing. Two years ago I could only dream of this. Song composition has also been an incredible journey, as I was longing to write my own material but had no concept of how to approach this.
On a personal level, the welcoming environment from both the tutors and contemporaries put my mind at ease about entering the classroom for the first time after nearly thirty years.
There have been many tears and moments when I felt like giving up but if you demonstrate you are putting the work in you receive full support and encouragement.
Filming my very first music video was also a real highlight whilst opening the door to social media with a professional image.
What skills did you learn on the course?
Song composition that can be adapted to various environments such as solo artists to full band to live and studio performing; Music theory; Performance; Rehearsing with a full band; Events management; Developing profile as a singer song writer; Web design - to a degree; Basic recording skills that I can develop with practice outside of college; Project management - a real asset as I could partly transfer my background in running two businesses whilst also developing this to combine events with my jewellery business and music profile; Studio work - again this has enabled me to see how accessible it is to record as an independent artist.
All in all I thought as a mature woman my days of recording, performing and releasing music were long gone. This course has taught me how to promote myself as an independent artist and that there is no requirement for a record deal. Moreover, this seems to be the way forward. It has opened so many doors and opportunities for me.
How has the degree helped progress your career?
This is early days as I have only just left the college. However, I am writing songs and plan to record and release an EP. I am working on obtaining gigs in the local area with the view to branching further out in the South West. I am also working on launching my online profile with recorded singles and social media campaigns.
Plans to record music will also help my jewellery business as I am going to use my original music as soundtracks for micro films promoting my jewellery range. This will take some time to plan.
What are your long-term plans, career-wise?
I would like to look at getting into music publishing. I aim to be featured on local radio and BBC Introducing and I am planning on hosting live events.
I am aware that the ship has long sailed for me to be playing at Wembley Stadium but that does not mean I cannot make a name for myself locally. Hard work, dedication and gaining a professional reputation will put me in good stead.
Karl is using the Foundation Degree to fulfill his dream of becoming a teacher
Foundation Degree Sport; Coaching, Health and Fitness.
Former school: Great Torrington
Karl is on the Foundation Degree in Sport; Coaching, Health and Fitness at Petroc’s North Devon Campus and also volunteers with Bideford Robins disability football.
During the summer, Karl will earn his Level 1 FA coaching badges – funded by Bideford AFC – working with a FA coach. He coaches disabled children up to the age of 12 at Bideford AFC. Karl secured this opportunity through work experience as part of his degree.
Karl has also volunteered at the Devon Ability Games, as part of his course.
Karl said: “Watching children with a disability enjoying socialising and playing football just makes me smile. It’s not about ability but about enjoyment for them.
“Becoming a teacher has been a goal since I was at school. I spent five years out of education and worked as a Dairy Engineer for nine years. I worked over 300 hours in three months with a three-year-old boy. I left the job after being diagnosed with depression and anxiety but this degree has offered me much needed change and a new challenge.”
When he completes his foundation degree, Karl hopes to go to University Centre Somerset to train to become a teacher.
Dom is studying Foundation Degree in Computing at our Mid Devon campus.
Name: Dom LaskeyCourse: FdSc ComputingYear: 2Campus: Mid DevonPreviously: Level 3 Information TechnologyPrevious School: Tiverton High School
"I did BTEC Level 3 in IT at Petroc, for two years. I got a distinction overall. Then I was going to go to uni elsewhere, but I changed my mind. So I did a Foundation Degree here as I was told it was a really good course. It’s going really well. I hope to get a first – I’m working towards that. I’m going to Plymouth next year for the third year. It’s a good time to move away from home and experience uni life.
"If you're unsure about the course, I would say do it. If you’re not comfortable with moving away, it’s a great chance. You have the third year in Plymouth, so you get the experience of living the university life."
Andy is studying Foundation Degree in Computing at our Mid Devon campus.
Name: Andy HowardCourse: FdSc ComputingYear: 2Campus: Mid DevonPreviously: Access to HE Diploma in SciencePrevious School: Chulmleigh Community College
"I came here in 2008 and did Uniformed Public Services – then lots of job cuts happened. I worked for about 5 years and then that’s when I decided I want to go and study computing as that’s the kind of thing I like to do. I decided to go on the Access course at Petroc. It helped a lot, especially as I got my A-level Maths.
"The degree class is small so it’s easier to learn. I’m hoping to go to Plymouth for the third year – I’ve got a house with all the guys on the course. I was thinking of going into teaching or web development after. One of the modules is a PGCE, so that would be ideal. I’ll take it as it comes – see what third year’s like!
"If you’re thinking of doing the degree, come and talk to the people on the course. Find out what it’s all about and get an idea of everything. You don’t have to have a lot of knowledge beforehand - you get to do it in the first year."
Nathan is studying Foundation Degree in Computing at our Mid Devon campus.
Name: Nathan WilsonCourse: FdSc ComputingYear: 1Campus: Mid DevonPreviously: Level 2 and Level 3 Information TechnologyPrevious School: Tiverton High School
"I left high school with only four-and-a-half GCSES, so I couldn’t get onto the level 3 course. I was put onto the Level 2 and I also studied GCSE English here. Doing the Level 2, I got a distinction star, so I progressed onto the Level 3. I didn’t have a huge idea of what I wanted to do after school, but I know I enjoyed IT. It was the main thing at school I enjoyed.
"I did not actually know it would take me to a degree. I’m doing quite well. It’s the same as what I have been doing before, but I have got student finance. I’m thinking of staying on to go to Plymouth. I think it’s quite a good balance - it prevents living costs by staying at home.
"You can still achieve great things If you didn’t do well at school."
Jo is working with Applegate on a Degree Apprenticeship in Management and Leadership
Degree Apprenticeship in Management and LeadershipEmployer: ApplegatePreviously: Level 3 Extended Diploma in BusinessFormer school: Great Torrington Community College
I can’t wait to make my 2017 more eventful, by doing exactly what I want to do at the weekend and making great memories with my friends.
It’s all possible after I accepted the fantastic degree apprenticeship opportunity with Applegate. Not only am I saving money while still studying for a Business Management degree, but I am getting fed and watered every morning too, as Applegate puts on breakfast for its employees.
This time last year I had no clue what I wanted to do. I considered travelling and going to university but I really only wanted to experience the lifestyle. I accepted this opportunity at Applegate because it gave me the best of both worlds. I am still at university and I also get six weeks to travel in the summer if I want to.
I may make some dodgy decisions at the weekend but this is one decision I definitely don’t regret. I’ve experience tradeshows and having everything paid for, and I’ve got the ability to save up to £10,000 for a house which the company will match. There are many educational benefits of this Apprenticeship too, but really I enjoy it because I spend my working day with people who are on the same level of banter as me – and I’m in control of the radio!
I’ve received employee of the month, I always get recognised for the work I do and I am supported with my university work by any employee that can be of some help.
I am currently studying my Business Management degree and am an Apprentice at Applegate Marketplace. If you feel like this opportunity could suit you, Applegate are taking on 10 more degree apprentices in September. It’s a five-year commitment, but the benefits are endless.
See you at the festivals!
Suse Rolfe is studying the Foundation Degree in Animal Conservation at our North Devon Campus
Course: FdSc Animal Conservation
Why did you choose to come to Petroc?
I came to Petroc because it's a college I've been to before and I'm familiar with the campus. It’s also close to home so that's another bonus.
And what made you pick this particular study programme/course?
Animal Conservation is something I've always been interested in, so when I heard about the new course starting last September I was keen to get involved. It sounded like something completely different to other degrees and also it provides the perfect challenge.
What elements of this study course do you particularly enjoy?
I love the fact that so much of the course is spent outdoors. Although certain aspects do have to be spent in the classroom, we’re out in the field doing practical stuff all the time. For example, this afternoon we're off to Exmoor Zoo!
What have been the highlights so far?
I really enjoyed the wet weather surveying we did a few months back. We were recording potential hazards or areas that could cause a problem in the future with sediment getting into the river, helping the stocks of freshwater pearl mussels as a result.
What do you most enjoy about studying at Petroc?
It’s a really friendly environment to work in and the lecturing staff are always really supportive. The library service is also very good and the team were helpful when it came to referencing.
What’s the long-term plan?
I'll study the full degree at Plymouth University once I've finished my Foundation Degree. After that I want to develop a career so I'll be on the job hunt.
Any advice for someone thinking of choosing the same course as you?
My advice is to read as much as you can about many different topics. The Foundation Degree in Animal Conservation is incredibly diverse and covers a multitude of areas.
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