Posted Friday 11 August 2017
After eight years of working in the NHS, dedicated healthcare assistant Bello Aminu knew it was time to turn his passion for nursing into a caring career, but missing paperwork almost derailed his university plans.
Following recommendations from his colleagues, Bello found the perfect course at Kingston University. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to apply through the usual UCAS route in time because some of his essential qualification certificates had been lost in a house move.
Keen to secure a place on the Mental Health Nursing BSc(Hons), taught at specialist facilities on the University's Kingston Hill campus, he called the Clearing hotline for advice. After being reassured by a hotline adviser, Bello embarked on a race against time to find replacement papers and prepare for his final hurdle – the interview and test.
Despite his nerves, Bello was determined to secure his coveted Clearing place. "I was so anxious and feeling unwell on the day of the interview, but I told myself ‘no excuses'," he admitted. "I knew this was a big opportunity for me and it would really open doors. I was over the moon when I got the place – it was like winning the lottery."
The 38 year old from Edgware, north London discovered his love of nursing when he moved to the NHS after previous jobs as an engineering designer and fitness instructor. Although his career path might seem unconventional, Bello thinks his background actually reinforces his skills as a nurse. "Engineers, like nurses, look beyond the problem to seek a solution," he explained. "Meeting people with mental health issues in my other jobs really opened my mind. It made me want to give more and help people lead better lives."
Starting his course at Kingston University was particularly daunting for Bello as he has a hearing impairment and wasn't sure what help would be available. By working with lecturers and the University's disability team, however, he was able to put in place a range of support to make sure he got the most out of his studies.
As the end of his first year approaches, Bello is confident about the future. "I have a lot to contribute and my current employer sees me as an asset," he said. "I hope the patients with disabilities that I meet on the ward will see me as a role model."
Bello's advice to anyone thinking about Clearing is to not to let your disabilities or background stop you from doing things. "There are always opportunities out there for you, you just have to work hard and believe in yourself," he said.
Senior lecturer Anne Ambridge agrees that there is plenty of support available to people applying through Clearing. "Our hotline advisers are here to help you find the right course and talk you through the application process," she said. "So, if you're thinking about a career in nursing, but are nervous about taking that first step, give the Clearing hotline a call. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain."