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Lucy Johns

Former Plymstock School pupil Lucy Johns has her heart set on becoming a physiotherapist but having outgrown school, she opted for a different route to her chosen career. 

Six months into her two-year T Level programme at City College Plymouth, the 16-year-old said that the workload can be challenging but she is pleased she’s opted for the healthcare science qualification rather than A Levels. 

Lucy explained: “I didn’t want to study four different subjects just to get into university. I like that the T Level is just one course that is focused on a job in a health-related profession. I also like that I’m not just stuck in a classroom all day long.”

T Levels, which are brand new qualifications that have more of a focus on workplace skills and experience, include a 45-day work placement, which Lucy has already started and sees her volunteering in a care home for four hours a week.

“My work experience placement has really helped my confidence and has opened my eyes to career options in healthcare. Physiotherapists play an important role in supporting the elderly and the vulnerable and that wasn’t something I had really considered before. It’s also really good for giving you experience of working with patients. 

“I think it is a real benefit that our lecturers all have industry experience. They bring a lot of insight to the course and can provide real-world context. This course is designed to prepare you for work so it’s good you learn about the patients who will one day be at the centre of our care.

“When I speak to my friends who are doing A Levels, they all say they wished they’d come to the College rather than staying at school. We get a lot more freedom and independence. It sounds as if we have similar workloads, but we’re focusing our attention on healthcare and all things related to that sector, rather than on lots of potentially unrelated subjects.”

On completion of the two-year T Level, Lucy is hoping to progress to a degree-level Apprenticeship.

Lucy added: “There is a lot to learn on this course but I’m enjoying it. As it is broad I could go on to a variety of healthcare courses or professions, so if you are considering a career in healthcare, I would recommend this T Level, especially if you have outgrown school.”