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The Bernadette Horsey Memorial

We’d like to thank Aaron Horsey for his generous donation to The Student Success Endowment funding Opportunity Bursaries, in memory of his wife, Bernadette Horsey.

About Bernadette Horsey

Bernadette Horsey

Bernadette Horsey was a student at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and studied on the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) accredited BSc(H) Biomedical Science course.

In the summer of 2011, Bernadette successfully completed her Foundation Degree in Biological Sciences. This two-year course equipped her with the necessary qualifications and vocational experience that allowed her to continue onto the second year of our BSc(H) Biomedical Sciences course.

Bernadette gained invaluable work experience by carrying out a placement year in 2012/13, as a trainee Biomedical Scientist at The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. The placement gave her the opportunity to complete the IBMS Registration training portfolio and register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). With this significant advantage, Bernadette was able to enter a successful career as a registered Biomedical Scientist following her graduation.

Dr. Christian Thode, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology, who taught Bernadette during her time at NTU wrote: "Bernadette was a very determined and persistent student. Despite her seemingly longer studies at NTU, she took the opportunity to complete an additional placement year. The work experience during her Foundation Degree made her realise the importance of work experience."

Sadly at only 31, Bernadette passed away during childbirth. There is little that can compensate for this loss for Bernadette’s family and friends, but it is hoped that her story can inspire more students to benefit as she did from placement opportunities and to further successful Biomedical Science careers.

There are few, if any, more dedicated and hardworking people than Bernadette. This attitude had not always come easily to her however. Bernadette’s NTU journey played a critical role in her becoming such a formidably driven person.

Bernadette Horsey with colleagues

Bernadette’s husband, Aaron Horsey, also an NTU Biomedical Science alum, who met his future wife while studying on this course wrote: "There are few, if any, more dedicated and hardworking people than Bernadette. This attitude had not always come easily to her however. Bernadette’s NTU journey played a critical role in her becoming such a formidably driven person.

"Bernadette lived abroad for a significant period whilst growing up. She lived in places including Hong Kong and Taiwan before returning to the UK to complete her A-Levels. These changes proved to be a significant challenge and Bernadette struggled to adapt. Nonetheless, Bernadette embarked upon a Foundation Degree in Biomedical Science. She turned her challenge around and really found herself at NTU. She dived into being a course representative and also won an award for her involvement with the student union. Her decision to get involved was a strong starting point representing an exponential trajectory in terms of personal success."

He continued: "Where grades and study had once been lower priorities, Bernadette was now able to set a goal and maintain the steadfast resolution to meet it. In her final year of study, in particular, some coursework was only marked less than 100% because the system simply did not allow it. There was no stopping her. This attitude remained with Bernadette through an all-too-short career as a Biomedical Scientist in the NHS. She was well-recognised as a knowledgeable and diligent scientist. It was clear that she set standards high and inspired her colleagues to keep them. Moreover, Bernadette was undeniably gifted and reliable, and she took pride in her work for patients."

"The capabilities that Bernadette developed during her time at NTU were in no small part down to the professional sandwich placements she undertook as part of each her foundation and Bachelor’s Degrees. During these placements, Bernadette was exposed first-hand to the application of her NTU skills and knowledge in the care of patients. She found this instilled a profound understanding of the importance of doing her best in all things with the view to serving others," Aaron added.

Biomedical Science placements

Bernadette Horsey

NHS-based placements offer great opportunities for Biomedical Science students to gain important knowledge and skills and to establish contacts in the sector. Many students, such as Bernadette, find that these placements can also provide invaluable work experience and qualifications which aid their post-graduate employability and career progression. Unfortunately, however, some placements are unpaid which can restrict access for many students based on financial barriers.

During a placement year students will need to register at NTU for their year out and pay a fee of £1,385 in order to maintain their student status and access to continued, full academic and pastoral support, guidance and advice services. The fee for the IBMS trainee portfolio is £137, including portfolio, verification and administration, and is payable by the student unless these costs are covered by the placement provider or by the NHS trust.

The annual maintenance loan from Student Finance England may not fully cover living costs or transport for the commute during the placement year, especially when living away from home. Costs are also likely to incur for the preparation and attendance of placement interviews, such as clothing and transport.

Work placements such as these are a deeply valuable career and life-enhancing opportunity for personal and academic development, and one which more students should be able to take advantage of.

The Opportunity Fund

NTU is committed to widening access and providing alternative paths into higher education, including through the provision of Foundation courses such as Bernadette’s. Over 30% of our first-year home undergraduate students come from families with an annual household income of £27,500 or less. However, we recognise that the barriers associated with income inequality do not end at university enrolment, and neither does our commitment to social mobility.

Therefore, starting in the academic year 2023/24, NTU will provide an annual Opportunity Bursary of £165 per eligible student, per year of their studies. This bursary is to enable students to access a range of extracurricular activities in order to enrich their academic life and student experience, including undergraduate placements undertaken as part of a Biomedical Science course.

Eligibility for an Opportunity Bursary is determined using our established set of criteria and information provided by Student Finance England. Typically, this will entitle students from households with an income of below £27,500 per annum to the bursary. Eligible students will be automatically awarded an Opportunity Bursary from the fund, ensuring equal access for the students who are less likely to seek support.

While we recognise that this amount will not make a large dent in the current rising cost of living, we encourage you to use the bursary to pursue chances to supplement your degree with enriching opportunities such as a placement year.