Plymouth Science Park has loaned laboratory space to second year biomedical students, enabling them to achieve essential clinical microbiology proficiencies.

Every summer, students training to be Biomedical Scientists from the University of Plymouth complete clinical placement experience to help them build-up a portfolio of essential clinical, diagnostic and research skills.

Due to Covid-19, however, the laboratory space previously arranged for the students was no longer available. Lynn McCallum, the University of Plymouth Healthcare Sciences Programme Lead, determined to ensure the students were able to complete their placement and gain essential skills, contacted Plymouth Science Park to see if they could help.

Plymouth Science Park is located close to the hospital, facilitating rapid and safe transport of pathological materials, and was delighted to make appropriate laboratory space available for the biomedical undergraduates throughout August. The gifted space has enabled the students to build up their skill set and provide evidence of a suitable quality to support their national registration.

Lynn McCallum said: “In order to complete their degree, and demonstrate their competence in a laboratory setting, students must produce clinical portfolios of competence to meet the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) requirements as well as those from the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)’

“The University of Plymouth runs placement positions for students on these professionally accredited degree programmes via the Applied Biomedical Sciences degree and Healthcare Science Practitioner Training programme, to help students develop their professional portfolios.

“The students had worked extremely hard to secure a placement, and we were all devastated when it looked unlikely to go ahead. We were delighted and so thankful that Plymouth Science Park was able to offer free laboratory space for the students, who in turn set up a satellite microbiology unit for the study of clinical microbiology specimens.”

Biomedical undergraduate Charlotte Williams said: “The summer placement is a really important part of our degree; due to the covid-19 pandemic, our initial placement lab was unable to accommodate us, so my lab partner, Euan and I were so pleased to be able to work from Plymouth Science Park to gain the essential skills towards our portfolio.

“Next year, as well as full time study, we will complete our work placements before graduating. This will provide us with a significant edge in the jobs market as well as giving us the required skills and qualifications to work within the NHS pathology laboratories.”

Fay Davies, Business Development Manager at Plymouth Science Park, said: “We were delighted to be able to support the University of Plymouth and the undergraduate biomedical scientists by offering a satellite microbiology unit for them to conduct their research. Upon graduation, these students will be highlighly skilled scientists working on life saving research and diagnostic services within the NHS and we are proud to have played a small part in supporting them to gain essential skills and graduate.”

To find out more about Plymouth Science Park visit: www.plymouthsciencepark.co.uk