Published on October 18, 2022

Did you know that North Hertfordshire College offers a range of Science courses? Located in the heart of the ‘Innovation Corridor’, our courses help students like Millie Watson to gain the skills, knowledge, and experiences needed for a successful career in STEM industries.

Alongside her Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science, Millie has also been accepted into the Upskill Empowered Females In STEM programme, out of 1,300 applicants! The programme will help Millie develop key employability skills as she works alongside women from across the STEM industries to learn more about what it takes to be successful.

Find out more about Millie’s experience of NHC and what she’s looking forward to about the programme in her interview:

Why did you choose to study science at NHC? 

“Before I started studying here, I studied Game Design at another college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career at the time, so I chose something that fitted with what I was interested in at the time – learning to code and gaming. However, I realised that I missed the science side of things and wanted to study it again.

“Someone at my previous college mentioned North Hertfordshire College, so I decided to take a look around. I thought that it looked like a good course and the College atmosphere was really nice, which is why I applied. My Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science is equivalent to three A levels, but it’s a lot more practical and hands-on than studying A levels would have been.”

What sort of thing do you study on your course? 

“As the course is Applied Science, there’s a combination of biology, chemistry, and physics. One of the exams at the beginning of the course was split into those three sciences, and then everything else has been combined since then – it’s a really interesting blend of topics.

“I also like that we’re learning a good mix of skills from the course. One of the exams that’s part of the course is looking at some scientific articles and picking them apart. They could be on any topic within the science field, but it’s more about our ability to pull information out, analyse, think critically, and argue our case. The course means that we can go into any career in the science field.”

What is the Upskill Empowered Females in STEM programme and how did you hear about it? 

“The Upskill Empowered Females in STEM programme is a masterclass and mentorship employability programme, which is built around supporting women into the STEM sector and teaching you how to be a top woman in your field. There are lots of different employers involved in the programme including Pfizer, Amazon, Facebook, and Dyson, so there’s a good mix of people involved in the project. I’m hoping that I’ll be mentored by a woman who is working in the science sector and is at the top of her game.

“The programme runs for six months and launches with an in-person networking event in London. We’ll then take part in online sessions once a month with some work set in between each of these.

Where did you hear about the programme and how did you apply? 

“One of my tutors, Dr Rana, told all of us about the programme and encouraged us to apply. I was one of 1,300 people who applied for the programme and one of only 300 students who was selected!

“The application process involved an online form and an interview-style question, and there were some quite difficult questions involved. I wrote in-depth about how I would be committed to the programme and how passionate I am about science and having a career in the field. You had to prove that you’re hardworking outside of the course and how you’ve improved and grown as a person, which was an interesting question I’d not been asked before. I wrote about how I used to be really anxious, but I’ve since grown more confident and pushed through the anxiety by getting a job at the beginning of my course and generally pushed myself further.”

Is there something in particular that you’re really looking forward to in the programme? 

“I’m looking forward to meeting everyone else on the programme and all the professionals taking part as mentors. It’ll be especially interesting to meet people who are at the top of their field… it can be intimidating to meet someone or hear about someone who’s a CEO, because you don’t really know what that involves and what they actually do. I’ll be interested to learn what it’s like to be on the inside of the industry and what’s expected of you.”

How will it help you in your career? 

“The programme involves lots of masterclasses to help you improve your employability, which will help me start my career. I’m hoping that the sessions and the masterclasses will help me be a better employee in the future, especially as I’ll be learning leadership and teamwork skills.

“This is going to be a valuable experience which will also help me with applying to university and give me something to put into my personal statement. I want to study biomedical science, in particular I’m thinking about applying for a degree apprenticeship. Biomedical science is an interesting field with lots of diversity and lots of different career paths – there’s so many exciting opportunities in the field.”

Where do you hope to be in five years’ time? 

“Hopefully I’ll have completed university and have done well in my course. I’d ideally like to have done a placement year and to have completed a degree that’s more practical and hands-on. In terms of a career, I want to be working in a place that I enjoy and be doing something that I enjoy.

“I’m not sure what I want to do as a career yet, I’m keeping my options open. I’m leaning towards working in histology and working in a lab in a hospital, but I recently spoke to an epidemiologist about their own career and they spoke about the importance of data analysis in the field… it’s given me more ideas and things to think about, especially the potential of using my coding skills in my work.”

We’d like to wish Millie the best of luck with the Upskill programme, we look forward to catching up with her at the end of the programme to find out what she’s learnt!

If you would like to follow in Millie’s footsteps and start your own STEM journey, why not check out North Hertfordshire College’s Science courses? With NHC, you can stay close and go far!