Students were given in-depth insights into different science-based careers as they select their GCSE options over the next few weeks. The Year 9 students heard talks from either optometrist Gareth Paterson, sports therapist Claire Simms or Chris Kemp who works in clinical research.
All spoke for about half an hour on their careers and the science qualifications needed for each and each talk concluded with a question and answer session. Mr Paterson now works as a consultant to optometrists to make them more efficient in their practice. He went into optometry as he wanted a medical career and he spoke about the range of the job and some of the more challenging cases he had experienced.
Ms Simms works at a local physiotherapy centre and also at the Stewarts & Lloyds rugby club. She spoke to the students about how she assesses patients, decides on suitable treatment and rehabilitation programmes and then showed them some of the equipment she routinely uses. She said: ‘I went to Loughborough to do sports science and I decided that rehab was the area that I wanted to find out more about. I went on to do a Masters degree in that and just wanted to go into sport to use my knowledge to help people. No two days are the same and you never know what to expect.’
Chris Kemp is a global project manager working for Quintiles, a clinical research organisation. He said: ‘I project manage global clinical trials. We work on behalf of pharmaceutical companies who come to us with a potential new medicine or compound. We can set up and run their clinical trials for them; from writing the original protocol, all the way through to selecting the doctors globally that conduct the trials. We collect the data and monitor the safety of the patients throughout and get all the approvals we need. We are one of the most highly regulated industries going, but quite rightly so because our key role is to protect the patients. We are there to make sure that all the data is complete and accurate. We then produce clinical study reports. The pharmaceutical companies then go through a licence application for each country they want to sell their drugs in to. The clinical trial process is long and expensive.
‘One of the key things is that it is such a varied industry, it is genuinely interesting. I have worked in lots of different therapy areas and we have huge IT infrastructures to deal with the data we collect so there are lots of opportunities to develop your career and travel around the world.’