Headstart gave me the confidence to pursue a STEM subject

This year Headstart EDT gave Career Ready free places to take part in the Headstart programme, which gives students the opportunity to take part in a one-week taster course in a STEM subject at a leading university. Here, Ella Henry from London Academy of Excellence shares her experience of studying marine biology at Southampton University. 

Before I started with Career Ready I was totally unsure of what I wanted to do in the future and I just didn't have the knowledge and skills which you need to excel in the workplace. 

I decided to apply for Headstart as I have always been interested in the natural world and in science, but had no idea what a degree in this area would involve. The programme description stated that we would spend two days on a boat and use their high-level equipment, which sounded fascinating. With my own personal growing concerns about the condition of our Earth and climate, I knew the Marine Biology and Oceanography course at Southampton would suit me well. 

I think the thing I enjoyed most about my Headstart experience is that it gave me the opportunity to learn what studying this course would be like and- more importantly - it gave me the confidence to pursue a STEM subject. Getting the chance to work out at sea on a research vessel (a chance I don’t get often in East London!) was phenomenal. The labs and their equipment were amazing, and the intriguing and stimulating lectures we received encouraged me to go into science.

Getting involved with Headstart is something I'd recommend to other Career Ready students as it gives you the chance to immerse yourself in a course you either know you want to study or even one that is completely new and just sounds exciting. Staying in university halls also gave me a taste of student life and I made some really good friends. It’s great to put on your personal statement and you can learn some useful tips about the application process by speaking directly to admissions officers.

My plan for the future is to study natural sciences or biochemistry at a top university. I have always been fascinated by our environment and how organisms are built so perfectly to suit their habitat. Headstart helped me to realise that molecular biology is an area I’m very interested in. 

Without Career Ready I would not have an outstanding mentor, a place on an incredible Headstart course, and numerous skills for the workplace and beyond. Now I have the confidence to excel at university and I am aware of the different pathways to a career in STEM out there.