Claire Shankly - Access to Paramedic Science SWAP

About Claire

Claire Shankly

Former Access to Paramedic Science SWAP Student

Now going to study Paramedic Science at Glasgow Caledonian University

I’m Claire Shankly, I’m 33 and I was on the Access to Paramedic Science SWAP course at the East End campus of Glasgow Kelvin College.

I was formerly employed in Fashion illustration, manufacturing and marketing and I owned a local bridal boutique which I had to give up due to complications when I had my first child. I began volunteering with an events First Aid company in order to meet new people and develop a wee hobby outside of being a mum, which surprisingly sparked my interest in a total change of career, and this has led to where I am now, training to be a paramedic.

Once I decided to change my career and retrain, I decided to do an access course in order to update my skills from school. I didn’t do any higher level maths or sciences at school and until I looked into what was needed for the Paramedic Science degree, I didn’t realise that qualifications go ‘out of date’ therefore I needed a full refresher course in all subjects to gain access to university.

I looked into various science related SWAP course but Glasgow Kelvin stood out to me as my first choice because they specifically offered an Access to Paramedic Science SWAP, which works directly with my chosen university for the opportunity to be able to access first year of the Paramedic Science degree to become a paramedic.

The Access to Paramedic Science SWAP course teaches a wide variety of subjects, so I have had a refresher in Communications which involves writing essays and giving presentations, Numeracy and Higher Biology units, as well as covering really relevant and worthwhile SQA units relating to a career as a paramedic, such as Values and Principles, Mental Health and Sociology.

My favourite part of the course has been being able to push myself outside of my comfort zone in order to learn the necessary skills to move on to university. I felt I was maybe too old to start over again in a new career but since meeting lots of like-minded people it’s gave me the confidence to go for it and I’ve learned so much along the way.

The majority of lecturers were really helpful, knowledgeable and approachable. They are used to teaching ‘mature’ students and really adapted their teaching styles to accommodate us.

The course has been instrumental in helping me gain a place on the Paramedic Science BSc at Glasgow Caledonian University and ultimately have a future career as a Paramedic in the Scottish Ambulance Service.

If anyone out there is considering retraining or changing career I would tell them this - If you want it, you have to get out of your own way and go for it. The thought crossed my mind that at 33 with two very young children it wasn’t going to be possible but you can make it work and better yourself for the future.

Find out more about the Access Paramedic Science & Healthcare course.