Later this month, thousands of school-leavers will start university and embark on one of the most challenging and rewarding periods of their lives. Biomedical science, with its attractive and varied career prospects, remains a popular choice amongst undergraduates. With a growing number of universities now offering the course, aspiring biomedical scientists have a wealth of options to choose from. But where to go?
Aside from ticking off the usual university checklist, students wishing to study biomedical science may have another factor to consider: IBMS accreditation. “In order to work as a biomedical scientist in an approved laboratory, you have to ensure your qualifications and training meet the standards set by the IBMS,” says Ashleigh Dadson-Butt, Training and Development Manager for Infection Sciences at HSL. “Choosing an IBMS accredited degree makes this process much easier for students, ensuring they are ready to start working towards HCPC registration as soon as they graduate.”
IBMS accredited degrees meet all the academic requirements for students to begin the IBMS registration portfolio, an essential element for registration. Full HCPC registration is needed to work as a biomedical scientist, and also requires students to undergo a period of training in an IBMS approved laboratory. Many biomedical science degrees now include this training as part of the course itself, ensuring students can complete their registration by the time they graduate.
Perspective from the panel
Having trained as a biomedical scientist herself, and now working in one of the largest pathology laboratories in Europe, Ashleigh brings a highly experienced professional perspective to the IBMS accreditation panel. “My role is to ensure that the teaching on these courses is relevant to what we do in the laboratory,” she explains. “As Training and Development Manager at HSL, I know exactly how many labs we have and what goes on in each one. University syllabuses need to stay up-to-date and reflect the breadth and depth of biomedical science. Molecular genetics, for example, has really overtaken more traditional, hands-on disciplines – but we’re still waiting for universities to catch up.”
The process of accreditation is no mean feat for the university nor for the accreditors themselves. Ashleigh has to spend a good few days prior to her visit sifting through boxes of paperwork and liaising with other members of the panel. “We look at everything, from the structure and content of the programme, to the level of student support,” she explains. “What I really enjoy is getting to visit the universities, touring the facilities and meeting staff and students. It’s great to see a new generation of scientists in the laboratory. They are always so enthusiastic.”
Advantages of accreditation
For Ashleigh, her role as an IBMS accreditor carries additional professional benefits: “It’s a great opportunity to network and understand how other laboratories run their placements. By seeing what works and what doesn’t, we can develop new ideas and tailor our programme to ensure our own trainees get the most out of their experience.”
Although HSL is currently focused on postgraduate training, several placement opportunities for undergraduates are expected to become available in 2018/19 . Thinking about what makes a successful placement, Ashleigh emphasises: “The most impressive students are those who have who have the skills, knowledge and confidence to thrive in a working laboratory. Choosing an IBMS-accredited degree fully equips students for life in the laboratory, giving them the best possible start to their career.”
If you’d like to find out more about education, training and career opportunities at HSL, please click here.
If you are considering a career in biomedical science and would like to find out more about the IBMS, including a list of accredited degrees, please click here.