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Luca Balestra
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Medical translator praises Access to HE for setting him up in his dream career

An Access to HE student is in his dream profession after his time at City of Bristol College supported him to graduate from UWE Bristol.  

Italian-born Luca Balestra said he was ‘nervous’ returning to education after so many years and wasn’t sure what to expect. He returned to education to acquire the necessary knowledge and qualifications to specialise in medical translation, after working as a freelance translator for a number of years.

The 38-year-old said: “I found the course interesting and well-structured, teaching staff were always supportive and there were plenty of teacher-student interactions during class, which is something I wish there was more of in universities! The course was fast-paced and assessments were frequent throughout the year, so I felt it was important to establish a study routine.”

After completing the Science route of the Access to HE courses, Luca went on to study Biomedical Science at UWE and is now undertaking translation work in the life sciences field from a large agency which contacted him shortly after graduating.

Luca explained: “My current life sciences client, who now provides the majority of my translation work, reached out to me based on a combination of my work experience and the biomedical science degree I was able to enrol on thanks to the Science Access to HE. Now that I have the degree, I am much more confident in my ability to understand and write about science, which is essential for my work.

“I intend to keep working in medical/life sciences translation and continue to develop my skills. Depending on requirements for the work I am interested in, I may go on to complete a Masters (MSc) in Medicinal Chemistry.

Luca urged students thinking about getting back into education to go for it, but to ‘try and be consistent with your studies’. He added: “Teaching staff are there to help you, so do not hesitate to ask for support and advice.”

Access to HE courses are similar to A Level courses but are for adults who are returning to education. They provide a key progression route into university, allowing students to progress their careers.

To find out more about the Access to HE courses we offer, visit our website.

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