Julie Anne Smith, HNC Applied Science

Julie Anne Smith had studied Access to Biological Science at West Lothian College ten years ago but as can sometimes happen, personal circumstances prevented her from completing the course.

Her interest in the subject remained, as did her desire to have a career within the industry but Julie Anne decided work in the interim.

A few years back Julie Anne had a heart attack and decided to take a bit of time out to most importantly recover, but also to figure out what her next steps would be.

She went to Australia and while there thought about what kind of career would make her happy.

She decided to return to college and pursue her passion. She re-applied for Access to Biological Science and was able to successfully complete the course and has since progressed onto the HNC Applied Sciences.

Julie Anne explains:

“I loved everything about it, the college environment, my classmates and the staff were all great. Toward the end of the 2020, we were back in lockdown, so this was a complete other side to learning but my lecturer Margaret has been amazing, she’s always encouraging and keeps everyone going. The support has been brilliant, with the finance team in particular being so helpful.”

Julie was unsure about the placement element of the course placement but a presentation about optometry as part of her course spiked her interest in this area.

“Optometry was something I had always had an interest in and this talk really reignited my passion for it.”

So much so that Julie Anne enquired about the possibility of securing a placement within the field of optometry.

She was able to get a placement at Specsavers in Linlithgow and it is safe to say she has found it most beneficial.

“My placement has been amazing, the staff are brilliant. The support and welcome I have been shown has been second to none.”

What started as a placement quickly became a part-time paid position and Julie Anne is loving being trained on the job.

Upon completion of her course, Julie Anne will be offered a full-time role within the store and Julie Anne is eager to take on the challenge that awaits

“I am going to learn through my job and take courses online, this will help me decide what route in optometry I wish to take.

It wasn’t easy getting everything in place, but I managed it and with the help of all the college staff, I am really enjoying my course.

Don’t think you are too old to come to college, do what you are passionate about.”