Published: 7th February 2023
Hanan Perveen joined Synnovis (formerly Viapath and now proudly part of SYNLAB) in 2017 as a Specimen Reception Assistant after deciding he no longer wanted to pursue a career in architecture.
Hanan was keen to learn, so with the support and encouragement of his training officer he began his degree studies at Staffordshire University on the first cohort of the Healthcare Science Apprenticeship in 2018.
I had started working in the laboratories after deciding I did not want to pursue a career in architecture, and quickly fell in love with the impact of the work being done here and the science behind it all. It felt that the work being done here was not only interesting, but morally satisfying as you played a key part in providing care for people that are unable to help themselves.
It was clear that the apprenticeship model would be far better than an isolated degree at university in helping Hanan establish a career in the science sector. For Hanan, the idea of learning the principles and theory while performing the tests carried out in the laboratories made more sense than learning the theory first at university.
The level of competition and the sheer number of university graduates having studied Biomedical Sciences is far larger than the number of trainee posts available. This can make it very difficult to progress beyond Associate Practitioner (Band 4) positions.
Having initially studied BA Architecture, I felt a little lost and overwhelmed with the limited options I had without a degree in this field.
Once the opportunity arose to take a up place on the apprenticeship scheme, and with the support of his training officer, Hanan was fortunate enough to be offered a place on the programme.
The process allowed Hanan to incorporate and apply his practical experience into his learning and work, meaning that he had a deeper, more robust understanding than a university graduate. This was highlighted when completing the IBMS trainee portfolio and research project, which were of a significantly higher standard than Hanan’s peers, due to working while studying and having the support of colleagues.
Support from SYNLAB
Hanan said: “Throughout the apprenticeship, I have received support from not only the university, but SYNLAB as well. Logistical and administrative challenges were expertly handled by the learning and development team, expenses for travel and accommodation were covered by Synnovis and SYNLAB, and opportunities for training and rotations were accommodated and approved quickly when required, which were integral for time-sensitive assignments and deadlines.”
Studying and working full time can be challenging, but the apprenticeship model makes allowances for this; providing candidates with time ‘off-bench’ to support their learning. Hanan received support from a Learning advisor who worked with Laboratory Managers to support him in managing his workload effectively.
|Top tips from Hanan: Establish a robust routine and realistic understanding of how much time you will need to dedicate at home to your completing your studies. Accept the support on offer and soak up as much knowledge as possible from your colleagues.|
My advice to others doing this or interested in doing this would be to understand that you will have to make some sacrifices here and there and it will be hard work, but as long as you are organised, establish a routine that works for you and are diligent, it is very doable.
So, what’s next…?
I am excited to start my career as a scientist firstly and, once I ground myself, I plan to continue my development and pursue my passion for learning. Most likely, this will include further studies and training. Currently, I am interested in research and translating research into the diagnostic setting, and highlighting and developing the association of the scientific and clinical aspects of healthcare.