Three talented A Level students at Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form secured places to assist with university standard research, completing summer project work with the Nuffield Foundation.

A Level students Sarah Kendall, Fiona Dewhurst and Umair Asif took part in university standard projects, at the University of Manchester and the University of Central Lancashire. The Nuffield Project allows students to get hands-on experience of a professional research environment and a valuable insight into the sorts of careers available in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) industries.

Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form has an enviable reputation for excellence in the provision of STEM education and was awarded STEM Assured Status by the New Engineering Foundation (NEF) in 2012; one of only a few colleges in the UK to achieve this. The College is committed to giving its dedicated Science, Maths and Engineering students every opportunity to progress with their education and future careers and as part of this, at the beginning of the academic year, the Science department held a special session to highlight future learning opportunities to its students. Three students applied to Nuffied for projects and therefore the College was thrilled when it found out that all three students had been given placements.

Sarah Kendall, who is 24 and studying A Levels including Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics has attended The University of Manchester’s Department of Life Sciences, carrying out a project entitled ‘Assessment of Inflammation in Experimental Stroke’. Sarah hopes eventually to go on to study Forensics or Microbiology at university after she completes her A Levels.

Fiona Dewhurst, who is 17, is currently studying A Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics and History, in addition to attending the College’s innovative Pre-Med course which aims to help those who are aspiring to work in the health professions to achieve their dream career. Fiona also attended the University of Manchester to take part in a Chemistry related project, looking at Spectroscopy.

Umair Asif is also 17; he has completing a Physic project at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. His project focused on simulating the formation of disk galaxies using computer programming. Umair is hoping to complete a Mathematical based degree and is currently completing A Levels in Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths and Physics.

Biology tutor Brenda Rowan helped the students apply to Nuffield and said, “These three students have been given an absolutely amazing opportunity to take part in degree standard scientific research whilst still at College. We are really keen to give our students every chance to progress and develop skills which will set them up to have successful scientific careers, and we were thrilled that the three students who applied to Nuffied were successful in gaining placements. It has been hard work for them over the summer, but the benefits will be enormous.”

A Level student Sarah Kendall said, “The experience was brilliant, I loved the lab environment and it confirmed to me that I am heading for the right career area. I learned a variety of techniques which will help me for the rest of College, University and whichever career I find myself in. The PhD students and staff were fantastic, really lovely and welcoming and full of advice! I asked them about aspects of university and they helped me so much!”