SMART : Samard was the only student on his course to gain the Registered Science Technician status
SMART : Samard was the only student on his course to gain the Registered Science Technician status

Mature student collects a prestigious science award in the capital

Returning to education after 15 years in the ‘University of Life’ is never an easy decision to make, but for one Bradford dad, revisiting his days in front of the chalkboard has indeed paid off.

Self-employed camera repairman Sarmad Ilyas collected a prestigious science award from the capital at The Royal Society of Chemistry’s London headquarters, after being granted the status of Registered Science Technician.

The award is a formal recognition of excellence for technicians working in science.

The 38-year-old earned the title after carrying out research into brain cancer drugs whilst studying as a mature student at Bradford College.

He enrolled on the Access to Higher Education Sciences course at the college last year after deciding to make a career change and has now progressed to a pharmacy degree.

Although he had studied neuroscience in his youth at a university in Manchester, the father-of-three was advised that he should do an access course to refresh his skills before returning to university.

He passed his one year course at Bradford College with an immaculate 45 distinctions and impressed whilst on a work placement for his end of year project at St James’s Hospital in Leeds, assisting senior research fellow Dr Anke Bruning-Richardson.

Sarmard was the only student on his course to gain the Registered Science Technician status.

He was nominated for his award by Bradford College and was joined in London for the awards ceremony by two members of staff, Ruth Tomlinson, Head of Access to HE, and Anita Lall, Assistant Principal.

“It was nice to have Ruth and Anita there with me, as well as my wife, for what was a proud day,” said Sarmad, who runs online business Funky Electronics repairing DSLR cameras, lenses, computers and consoles.

“Getting back into education was challenging, having been out of it such a long time but I am glad I made the move and am glad I came to do the Access Course at Bradford College.

“The labs and facilities in the David Hockney Building are excellent, as was the support from tutors.

“Although the science might not have changed since I was first in school, lots has changed in the way you study and research.

“I feel far better able to do my degree after doing the Access Course.

“Receiving the RSciTech award shows I am competent to work in a lab setting and should be a big asset when I am applying for jobs.”

Sarmad returned to the College recently to offer advice to the current class Access to HE Sciences students.

He warned them that they were in for an intense year, whilst emphasising the importance of not missing classes. He also encouraged them to set up study groups to help each other and urged them to start their projects and UCAS applications sooner rather than later.

The science whizz also advised them to do some relevant volunteer work to help bolster their university application – as he himself currently volunteers at the Bradford Royal Infirmary.