BTEC Student to Qualify as Paramedic by 21

30 July 2019 | Childcare, Health & Social Care, College News, Student Life

Sasha Clarke, age 19, from Plymstock, is now a student paramedic after achieving triple distinction star grades on the BTEC Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care at City College Plymouth – equivalent to A*A*A* at A Level.

Whilst traditionally many still attribute careers in the healthcare sector with A Level pathways, Sasha says that choosing a vocational course at college has helped her achieve more than she ever thought possible. She achieved a sought-after place on the degree in Paramedic Science at the University of Plymouth, and is on track to become a fully qualified paramedic by the age of 21.

Sasha explains: “I went to Plymstock Secondary School and I did alright in my GCSEs – I passed what I needed to pass, but I wasn’t one of the brainiest ones. A lot of my friends stayed on at sixth form to do A Levels, but I knew I wanted to go into a career caring for other people, and I really liked the outline of the health and social care course at City College.

“I’m not keen on exams and do better with coursework, so the BTEC suited me best. I really enjoyed my time on the course – it made me a more independent person, which is what I needed for the job I’m doing now.

“The class sizes were small and we had to do 100 hours of placements in a health care, child care or social care setting each year. That put me in a great position to get a place on the degree in Paramedic Science at the university – because they require you to have work experience before they will accept you on the course. If I had chosen A Levels, I wouldn’t have had that option.”

She says: “Growing up, some of my friends thought that college was the option for people who weren’t clever enough to do A Levels. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve got the maximum possible UCAS points, a place on a university course that is difficult to get on to, lots of work experience and a fast track to doing the job I really want to do. I’ll be a fully qualified paramedic by the time I’m 21.”

Sasha concludes: “There’s no way I would be where I am now if I hadn’t chosen to do the BTEC course at City College – it was absolutely the right choice for me, and I think it’s a great choice for anyone who wants to get work experience on their course and the qualifications to get into university.”

If you are interested in starting your career in the healthcare industry, explore the range of courses and Apprenticeships that City College Plymouth has on offer by calling 01752 305300 or visiting

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