Jason has just completed a HND in Biomedical Science, and his hard work and determination means that he will soon be studying for a degree in Microbiology & Immunology at Strathclyde University.

“I finished school at the age of 16 and worked as a labourer for a year. I didn’t enjoy school at all, I suppose you either do or you don’t. My sister was studying Nursing and she would come home and talk about her assignments; it sparked my interest….

“So, I applied for the Level 4 NC Forensic Science and worked my way up to Level 5, did my Highers and then my Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Applied Science. From there I applied for my HND in Biomedical Science.”

Sandra Spence, Jason’s Curriculum and Quality Leader in Science commented, “Jason’s success in these NC programmes gave him the confidence to progress to Higher Education, as well achieving a CREST gold award from the British Science Association and extra qualifications, such as Level 3 Safety in Microbiology. All of which will enhance his employment skills.”

During his early NC studies Jason registered as a STEM Ambassador and has helped, over a number of years, to engage people in science by delivering practical science experiments to a large number of primary school pupils as well as members of the public at community events such as ‘Science is Fun’.    He continues to volunteer in this role, keen to give back to his local community and foster an enthusiasm for science in young people. Not only that but  Jason has also given up part of his summer holidays over the last two years to work as a mentor for Renfrewshire school pupils at Mission Discovery, a week long summer programme run in conjunction with NASA scientists. This year the team that Jason mentored won the competition to design an experiment which will be conducted at the International Space Station.

“The Mission Discovery was an opportunity of a lifetime and to be one of the Mentors of the winning team was just surreal. I feel really lucky that I was able to take part and it’s good to see so many school pupils get involved and be excited about Science.”

Jason attributes the support of his lecturers at West College Scotland as key factor to his success to date. He adds, “Everything is explained in class, but if you don’t understand anything the lecturers have an open door policy and go out of their way to make sure you are happy with the coursework. If I don’t get something the first time, they explain in in another way so I can understand.

“I like coming into college, being taught and learning something new.”

Jason is also keen to give some advice for budding scientists out there.

“I would urge anyone to take science classes in college, but not to jump in – build on the basics first. For me it was worth starting at the Level 4 as it gave me a good base to build my knowledge on and fill in the gaps. The lecturers have been great they are very open and understanding. No question is not worth asking and they always find a way to explain it to you.”

Jason has represented West College Scotland at a number of external initiatives such as College Development Network workshops, Parliamentary Showcases at Holyrood, and at national conferences.  Jason added, “My time at College has really grown my confidence. I’ve delivered workshops, given presentations and taken part in question and answer sessions. If you’d asked me back when I was starting my Level 4 if I’d be doing these things I’d have said NO way –I’ve come a long way and I’m proud of my achievements.”

Sandra commented, “For anyone who sees their future career in Science the Level 4 Applied Science is an excellent starting point. It covers a wide range of topics across biology, chemistry and physics and allows students to acquire a high level of practical laboratory skills. 

"The majority of our students progress to university to study a variety of degrees including, Microbiology, Biomedical Science, Sports Therapy, Pharmaceutical Science and Biological Life Sciences.

"Jason is a superb example of what can be achieved when students find something they are passionate about and have the determination to pursue their studies to achieve their goal.”