When Adam Waggott joined Liverpool Life Sciences UTC he wanted to become a doctor in accident and emergency, and his UTC helped him to get a placement at Liverpool Royal Hospital. He loved the experience but another opportunity offered by his school changed his thinking dramatically.

Here's Adam's story:

Where it all started

Adam joined Liverpool Life Sciences UTC in 2014 as a Year 12 student. He’d attended a mainstream school prior to this. He heard about the UTC through a friend and went along to an open day.

I’d actually already selected a college to attend but when I visited Liverpool Life Sciences I knew I’d gain so much more than simply achieving the grades. I thought it was perfect.

Adam was impressed with Liverpool Life Sciences UTC for a number of reasons. The equipment was of a much higher standard and many of the teachers had a background in industry. Also, there was more academic expertise, which gave an opportunity to work at degree level. Finally, the links with employers meant that he felt he would develop a better understanding of industry and learn soft skills around professional conduct, interview technique and team-working.

Life-changing learning

The UTC ran sessions where students could hear from a wide range of people involved in health sciences - the NHS, academics and business in the health sciences sector. At one of these sessions, Adam met Professor Paul O’Neill who introduced him to medicinal chemistry.

Medicinal chemistry helps to research and develop new drugs and it captured Adam’s imagination. At this point, he realised his passion for a career he never knew existed before coming to his UTC.

It dawned on me that as a doctor I’d be able help one patient at a time, but with medicinal chemistry I had the opportunity to create new drugs that could help millions.

Adam got help from his chemistry teacher Dr Brooke to arrange a placement at Professor O’Neill’s chemistry lab at Liverpool University. There he working alongside PhD students to research a new anti-malarial drug.

It really helped me understand more about the subject and what I might do after university.

What he did next

At the end of the first year Adam had the chance to undertake a two-week placement at Unilever focused on medicinal chemistry. Here he met Higher Level Apprentices who were working at Unilever and also studying a degree in medicinal chemistry at Liverpool University.

I’d always assumed apprenticeships were a second option if you didn’t secure a place at university. Speaking to apprentices at Unilever made me think again and I realised that this was the option I wanted to take.

Adam applied for the apprenticeship along with more than 300 other young people and was successful He will join UniLever in September as one of just a handful of apprentices.

Once Adam has finished his four-year apprenticeship he hopes to become a research and development chemist at UniLever and to then take his career as far as possible.

Why choose a UTC?

Without studying at the UTC I would never have known my chosen career even existed. Liverpool Life Sciences has given me a broad understanding of the health sciences sector which means I’ve been able to make an informed choice. I’ve had amazing access to academic and industry experience, which I think a general college would struggle to offer.

Liverpool Life Sciences UTC offers 14-19 year olds the opportunity to study for specialist qualifications in science and healthcare as part of their GCSE and A Level curriculum. Visit the website to find out more.

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