Cardiff Metropolitan University opened its doors to more than 40 students from the nearby Bishop of Llandaff High School last week for a unique two day Science programme. Pupils conducted a number of experiments in the university's laboratories and gained an insight into university life; with a tour of the Llandaff campus and advice from a range of academic staff on career pathways available to Science graduates.
The two day outreach programme was designed by Cardiff Met's School of Health Sciences to support the school science curriculum and provide young people with an opportunity to experience first-hand, studying and socialising in a university environment.
The School of Health Sciences offers a wide range of programmes in the Health Sciences and Social Care areas. Of specific interest to those pupils attending this two day programme are courses such as the BSc (Hons) Sports Biomedicine and Nutrition programme, the IBMS accredited BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science programme and the Foundation leading to BSc Health Sciences programme.
Cardiff School of Health Sciences also offers a Welsh Government funded BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science programme which is unique in Wales. It sees final year students automatically registered as Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) practitioners upon graduation.
Dr Cathryn Withycombe, Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at Cardiff School of Health Sciences said: "We were delighted to welcome pupils from the Bishop of Llandaff High School to Cardiff Met – it was great to see their enthusiasm working through the experiments and to hear the positive comments from students over the two days.
"This is the second year of running the programme. We feel that students take a lot from the experience and benefit greatly from both the knowledge of our staff and students and the opportunity to work in a professionally run lab.
"The group had great fun on their first day testing swabs from their nose, their hands, and a shop-bought sandwich, which they examined the following day to observe microbial growth".
"We have fantastic facilities here at Cardiff Met and we are a very research active school. The students have had an opportunity to hear from a number of academics across the various disciplines about current research projects and wider career prospects.
"Many of our programmes are professionally accredited and provide excellent career opportunities. We want to raise awareness of the options available to students following science-based programmes here. Our graduates go on to fulfil careers in a huge range of areas such as medicine, food safety management, environmental health, medical sales, nutrition etc."
Sixteen year old Olivia Sepahpour was one of the visiting students. She will be applying for a place at university next year. She said: "This is my first experience of doing practical work in a lab and I have really enjoyed it. I haven't attended any university open days as yet so it has been nice to be in the environment for the first time and see what it's like. It has given me an idea of the type of things I might be doing at university."
Frances Isgrove, Head of Biology at the Bishop of Llandaff High School said: "We are very grateful to Cardiff Met for offering this opportunity to our students. Many of our pupils were completely unaware that such fantastic facilities existed on their doorstep.
"Our pupils were able to directly apply the classroom-based theory we have been working on in a professionally run science lab, and see a number of experiments through from start to finish. Their experience here at Cardiff Met directly supports our own curriculum programme and the students most definitely feel the benefit when they return to the supporting theory following their visit.
"This initiative is hugely beneficial for our students and has provided them with a fantastic experience which can inform their decision making process as they make important choices over the next year."