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Picture of Dr John Kerry speaking with studentsStudents from University Centre St Helens’ Applied Microbiology foundation degree were excited to welcome guest speaker, Dr John Kerry, an experienced consultant microbiologist and former student. He dropped into lectures to inspire students with a talk about his life in medical and environmental Microbiology.

The special lecture, part of their degree studies, gave students a useful insight into the industry and career options as well as a perfect opportunity to ask an industry expert questions.

After leaving school at 15, John started work as an apprentice Electrician at Pilkington, where, 50 years ago, he first began his journey with St Helens College gaining his HND in Electrical Engineering. John continued his higher education study in Manchester, where he became a registered Authorising Engineer, continuing his job at Pilkington for another two years before realising he wanted a career change.

Picture of Dr John Kerry speaking This was a huge turning point for John, who dreamt of a career in medicine, something which he had always wanted to do. John left to pursue a new challenge securing a place at Kings College in London, where he gained his degree.

Since then, John has had some amazing opportunities, gaining his Fellowship in Medical Microbiology at Liverpool University, winning himself a Medical Research Award three years on the run, seeing him secure prize funding that went on to aid his research in America. Then, gaining his PHD at Trinity College in Dublin, before heading for a career in Medical Microbiology.

His decision to change careers proved a great success for John who went on to work with a number of hospitals, including St Helens, Warrington, Whiston, Walton and more. His new career led to the start of his own consultancy business, which saw his development into decontamination with the Healthcare Department.

Students were eager to learn his opinion on decontamination, which saw John sharing his theories on disease outbreak and control, something which the students will cover during their degree.

Johns experience made for an excellent lecture with the students, sharing his knowledge of microorganism growth, healthcare associated infections and preventions, as well as his brush with tropical diseases.

John explained: “The aim of my guest lecture was to give students a flavour of what I’ve experienced and been involved with over the years. But also to show them that Microbiology can lead to a number of career possibilities across various industries; Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Breweries, Cosmetic Companies, Agriculture, Food Industry, Marine Microbiology and Bioterrorism.”

Paul Kowabnik, Programme Leader for FdSc Applied Microbiology, commented: “It is such a pleasure to have an industry expert like John involved with the degree. Support like this helps to give our students the best insights into the industry and careers.”

Now, as president of the Rotary Club, John has regular involvement with University Centre St Helens, including our annual graduation ceremony, where just last year John presented a prestigious award to outstanding students.

The Applied Microbiology course offered at University Centre St Helens is one of only a few courses in the country of its type, in the field of Microbiology with a focus on classical mycology. Designed in consultation with local and regional employers in response to the changing needs of the industry. It’s not too late to apply to University Centre St Helens for September 2018. Visit our Application Guidance page to find out more.