Studied: GCSE Biology. Chemistry and Physics and Access to Science
Progression: Biomedical Science degree at Aston University
After 15 years of working in marketing, Julie Edge decided to try something completely different. Working towards a career as a virology specialist while running her own cleaning business is definitely that.
The 37-year-old is starting the second year of a biomedical science degree at Aston University. Her new career choice was inspired by the Ebola outbreak of 2014 and her observations of the government response and public reactions to the crisis.
“I was captivated by how people dealt with outbreak and supported others,” Julie recalled. “Then I got interested in the science behind the outbreak; exploring how viruses are formed. This reminded me of how much I used to enjoy science at school – I came top in these subjects.
“But as I didn’t have any particular career ambitions at 16, I didn’t pursue this and ended up working in marketing.”
Having worked in both agencies and in-house, Julie eventually worked her way up to a marketing manager role at Aston Villa Football Club. However, when a redundancy opportunity came up, she took the opportunity to retrain.
“Watching science-based documentaries and reading articles helped me realise that I needed more from my career. I a position where I was making more of a difference,” Julie explained.
Her learning journey began with a GCSE Biology and Chemistry qualifications, followed by her Access course and GCSE Physics.
To help support herself financially, Julie also set up a cleaning business in 2017. This became so successful that she now receives an income via a bank of cleaners who work for her in the local area.
Julie is full of praise her for Access course.
“Everything was well organised. It was easy to understand what was expected of me,” she recalled. “The idea of doing practicals did make me nervous at first. I wasn’t sure about completing all the instructions on time or not being able to present findings to the rest of the group afterwards.
“There was no need to worry. Support was always available. And my classmates were a mixture of ages and all friendly, so everything went fine.”
Julie achieved Distinction grades in all of her units bar one; surpassing the entry requirements for her degree course.
With her interest in scientific research stronger than ever, she is hoping to secure a role with Public Health England or the World Health Organisation.
“I’m keen to pursue a role in epidemiology, virology or microbiology research,” said Julie. “Having an end goal in mind is important to me. It keeps me motivated and helps me believe in myself.”