The first cohort from the Pre-Degree Nursing Students Programme all finished college with the highest Triple Distinction Star grades with the majority progressing their career paths at university.

So it was great to hear from a few of them and find out how they have been getting on and how the support they received at College has helped on their nursing journeys.

The following students are nearing the end of their respective nursing degrees at universities across the North West region and are all blossoming as student nurses.

Molly Evans, a former Lathom High School pupil, made it to the national finals of UK World Skills during her time with us and was highly commended by judges for her skill level. She is studying Adult Nursing at the University of Liverpool and believes her College course was a great start into her career path.

“The course was amazing. I learnt so much about nursing and health and social care while getting hands on experience in hospitals. The experience prepared me for both university and what to expect on placement.

“The staff were incredible and for that I thank them. I met a group of amazing people who had the same aspirations as me and were just as passionate about the profession. If nursing is for you then this course is a great stepping stone in your nursing journey, said Molly.

This course is due to become part of the new T Level qualification from September 2021 with pathways including Adult Nursing, Mental Health Nursing and Healthcare Professional. You can find out more about this exciting course here:

The College has a strong partnership with Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust as well as NHS partner university Edge Hill with the aim to nurture and grow talented nurses in the North West and then employ those newly qualified nurses in local hospitals within the region.

Jane Woodall, who also made it to the national finals chose to study at Edge Hill University and has had quite the experience so far.

The former Culcheth High School pupil has been on a range of placements from community to A&E and was even offered a job on a MAU ward in her second year. This gave her the opportunity to opt in to help with the COVID effort for four months during the first lockdown period.

She also had the amazing experience of spending two weeks in China at one of the university’s link schools to advocate for the university and learn medicine in a different culture.

Jane is looking forward to becoming a fully qualified nurse in 2021 and believes that her experience at College gave her an advantage.

“A major factor into getting accepted into university was that I had lots of hospital experience from my college course. This gave me a unique advantage over other applicants. College also gave me a huge amount of confidence with interviews as they helped me to practise and prepare so that I knew what to expect when going in,” said Jane.

Fellow College classmate, Melissa Barouki opted to study at Liverpool John Moores and like Jane is in her final year.

The former Byrchall High School pupil added: “Thanks to the Pre-degree Nursing Students Programme, I am where I am today. The course helped me structure my future and opened up many opportunities for me.”

Deputy Chief Nurse at WWL NHS, Amanda Cheesman has overseen the programme and is delighted with the girls’ progression.

She said: “The students have shown professionalism and confidence that is unique to the individuals that have started their career at the college.

“This programme has not only fostered excellent partnerships between the Trust, Wigan & Leigh college and local universities but has helped to create a generation of nurses that have proven to be caring and compassionate professionals that are an asset to both W&L college the ‘WWL family’ and the Wider Wigan Borough.”

Elspeth Scott decided to take a different route after completing her College course and thanked the ‘amazing tutors’ for their help and guidance into pursuing a degree in Psychology at the University of Salford.

“I wanted to become a registered nurse and this program gave me the insight and knowledge of the career I wanted to lead. Unfortunately, towards the end of my final year I realised that nursing wasn't the career for me anymore,” said the former Lowton CofE School pupil.

“It took me a while to figure out my new career would be in psychology. They helped me get onto my degree course and I couldn’t be more grateful. The Pre-Degree Nursing Students Programme gave me confidence and pushed me to do my best, which resulted in me getting a triple distinction star.”

Emma Barlow also decided to go to the University of Salford to continue her Adult Nursing career and has grown confidence and the belief that she can do anything. Having fallen pregnant during her uni course, Emma will now finish a bit later than her former classmates due to maternity leave but is on track to become fully qualified a year later.

The former Westleigh High School pupil commented: “I started Wigan & Leigh College in September 2016. As most of the tutors would tell you I started off as a very shy, quiet, independent student. The pre-degree nursing programme changed me for the better. It opened up a whole new personality.

“I’m so excited to become a Band 5 fully qualified nurse and I want to thank all the staff for the support I received.”

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