A group of highly driven, passionate and inspirational individuals are taking on frontline roles to help the support the NHS through a national crisis. 

Adult learners who completed their Access to HE Diploma: Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Professions at Bury College, are working extremely hard in Maternity units and hospital wards across Greater Manchester and handling 999 emergency calls.

Megan Prentice left school with no qualifications and chose Bury College to help her achieve her dream of becoming a Nurse. During her time at Bury College, Megan successfully achieved her maths and English GCSEs and secured her Level 2 and Level 3 Access qualifications and is proud to now be in the second year of her Nursing with Registered Nurse (Mental Health) BSc (Hons) Degree at the University of Central Lancashire.

Megan Prentice, 32-years-old from Bacup, has joined the frontline staff on an extended placement at Royal Blackburn Hospital to help with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Megan said, “As a mature student, returning to education was quite daunting, but the tutors were fantastic and helped me to settle in straight away. The support I received was second to none. My Level 3 Access course prepared me for further progression and I was delighted to secure a place at my first-choice university. I am now half way through my degree and on the path to achieving my long-term career goal - and that’s all thanks to Bury College.”

Since Mid-March, 24-year-old Holly Atkinson has been working for a Trust in Manchester as a Healthcare Assistant on Maternity wards. Here, Holly has been providing exceptional care for patients by making up beds, answering call bells and assisting with meal service. Holly completed her Bury College Access programme in 2018 and is now a second year Midwifery student at the University of Huddersfield. In the next coming weeks, Holly will be moved to antenatal, postnatal or labour wards where she could be facilitating births.

Holly said, “I feel really proud to be in a position where I am able to help the service where I can and I am looking forward to progressing in my student midwife role. The Bury College Access course definitely prepared me for my future and to progress onto University.”

Compassionate Laura Pilling used her Bury College Access qualification to secure her place on a Paramedic course at Edge Hill University. The 24-year-old from Radcliffe, is currently assisting in the Emergency Operations Centres where she is handling 999 calls. Laura is working as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher and is taking calls from members of the public and is responding with issues ranging from Covid-19 and childbirth to CPR.

Laura said, “I have always aspired to study Paramedic Practice and my role at the minute is challenging but so rewarding. Every day is different and you never know what call or scenario you are going to be faced with. I feel proud that I studied at Bury College and it helped me on my journey to achieve my dream career and I will be forever grateful.”

Natasha Bowker, 29 years old from Rochdale, has undertaken a role working as a Bank Nurse within the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis. Upon completion of her Access programme at Bury College, Natasha successfully progressed onto study Adult Nursing at the University of Salford.

Natasha said, “My Bury College Access course really prepared me for University and I received a lot of support from my personal tutor.”

Bury College Access courses are designed for individuals who have significant life experience but left education with few, if any, qualifications. The training students receive allows them to gain the skills and confidence to progress directly on to university.