A pharmacist who learnt his trade at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is passing on his skills to help undergraduate students achieve their goals.
Only a few years after graduating, Saqlain Shah has landed a role that combines clinical practice with teaching university students.
He said the host of extracurricular activities he undertook in addition to his studies helped him achieve success - and he is sharing his experiences to inspire pharmacists of the future to do the same.
"I love teaching," said Saqlain. "It's all about inspiring others. My achievements have spurred me on to help others."
It's nine years since Saqlain applied to DMU through Clearing. He said: "My father wasn't too well and I was looking after him, so didn't quite get the grades needed for optometry."
Enrolling on Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science, Bradford-born Saqlain decided he preferred patient-oriented work, so transferred to Pharmacy after his first year.
He said: "It was brilliant, the best thing I did.
"My favourite aspect of the course was the simulated case studies, which prepare you for practice."
Highly motivated, Saqlain took up extracurricular activities. He was the British Pharmaceutical Students' Association (BPSA) chair at local level for three years as well as the Leicester Pharmaceutical Student Association representative for three years, including one as chair.
He also spent a year as the BPSA Central Area co-ordinator, was part of the team that won the bid to host the annual BPSA conference at DMU and did four hospital placements over one summer.
This dedication saw him nominated for two national student awards and gain four pre-registration placement offers.
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He said: "In my second year I thought, 'I'm spending money and time away, so it has to be worth it'.
"It's always about maintaining the highest levels you can and has made me a more rounded person."
Sadly, while studying for his finals his father became very ill and passed away before Saqlain graduated in summer 2013.
"Everyone said I should defer my pre-registration year, but it mattered even more," said Saqlain, who won the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Pre-registration Student of the Year award while at Central Manchester University Hospital.
Saqlain has enjoyed the challenges offered by hospital pharmacy, spending two years in residency as a clinical pharmacist in Sheffield while studying for a postgraduate clinical diploma.
He said: "It's long hours, you're on your feet all day, trying to get patients discharged as early as possible while dealing with budget constraints.
"I could apply all aspects of what I learnt at DMU to practice, which made for greater satisfaction."
Last year, Saqlain landed his current role as a specialist pharmacist at an NHS hospital and a teacher practitioner at a university in the Midlands.
He added: "DMU gave me the platform to succeed and an innate hunger spurred me on."
Posted on Thursday 16th March 2017