Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2024: Yana Pavlova

Yana's determination and hard work drove her to successfully complete her Modern Apprenticeship in Life Sciences and Related Industries with D&A. Despite personal circumstances and the challenges that come with being a mature student, Yana seized the opportunity to enhance her skills.

Yana always aspired to working in the science industry since a very young age. Unfortunately, due to personal circumstances, she was not able to achieve the required grades to progress to university, however, she persevered and ultimately made further steps to achieving this goal.

Her journey eventually led her to Dundee where she was hired at the Photobiology Unit at Ninewells Hospital, eventually working exclusively for the Scottish Cutaneous Porphyria Service – a service dedicated to the monitoring and diagnosis of porphyria (also known as vampire disease). After a year, she expressed her interest in further progress and study, which was when she began a 3-year Modern Apprenticeship in Life Sciences and Related Industries.

Adjusting to being back in an academic setting as a mature student was difficult, especially when she suffered a significant loss - she didn’t know how to go on, but the opportunity meant too much and Yana pushed through. She said: “A family member once told me that time is going to pass by anyway, it’s up to you how you spend it. That helped me a lot to get through my studies whilst working full time. And to any other mature students out there, you can absolutely do this. A Modern Apprenticeship allows you to work and study simultaneously without having to give up one or the other – a factor which was certainly important to me”  

As she progressed and gained more confidence in herself, she was given the opportunity to submit an abstract to attend an international conference in the porphyria field, the organisers of which offered a bursary to 4 young scientists. She was one of the 4 people, internationally, to be awarded a bursary and went on to present. Yana found this nerve-wracking but also very exhilarating.

"Overall, I would highly recommend a Modern Apprenticeship to anyone, it's incredibly worth it and a great stepping stone. Since completing my Modern Apprenticeship, I have received a promotion at work and I'm really enjoying the diversity and learning opportunities that come with my new role."

Looking to the future, Yana hopes to continue her studies by progressing on to a Graduate Apprenticeship through a university.

Dundee and Angus College is delighted for Yana and we want to wish her the best of luck for her future!