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'All the skills you need': How studying online allowed this man to further his career in biopharma

Having started studying at Atlantic Technological University Sligo 11 years ago, Colm Manley has progressed from Level 6 Higher Certificate to a Master’s degree.

WHILE ONLINE LEARNING was a new concept for many students during the pandemic, for Colm Manley it was business as usual.

Colm began studying online in 2011 when he decided to pursue a career in biopharma while working full-time.

Colm Manley Colm Manley has been studying part-time online with ATU Sligo for over 10 years - progressing from Level 6 to Level 9.

At the time, Atlantic Technological University Sligo (ATU Sligo, formerly IT Sligo) was the only college offering fully online courses in the area he wanted to specialise in, so he began with the Level 6 Higher Certificate in Science in Good Manufacturing Practice. 

“I wanted to develop my knowledge of skills that are used everyday in the biopharmaceutical industry and enhance my knowledge and understanding of my current skills,” says Colm, who has worked as a Process Technician at pharmaceutical plant MSD in Brinny, Co Cork for 23 years.

Eleven years on, Colm has progressed through to a Master’s degree in Biopharmaceutical Science, which he’s due to start this September. The course is fully online, and is jointly offered by ATU Sligo and NIBRT (National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training).

ATU Sligo has a collaborative partnership with NIBRT that provides vital training and research facilities to industry leaders in the biopharma sector.

The joint programme delivery approach allows students working in a full-time employment to gain access to flexible online lectures, while attending workshops in the NIBRT laboratory environment.

IMG_0419 With over 150 part-time online courses available, ATU Sligo offers students fully accredited online qualifications matched to industry demand. ATU Sligo ATU Sligo

 As is the case for many people, Colm says the flexibility of online learning was a big driving factor for him. 

The blended approach to learning with online and practical lectures in NIBRT really appealed to me as I work full-time.

“I was able to study at a time that suited me and at home,” he says. “The lecturers were really helpful and interacted with students really well. You are able to participate in the class the same as a full time course and ask questions when you need to.” 

Speaking of the courses he completed to reach Master’s level (Level 7 BSc in Biopharmaceutical Science and Level 8 BSc Hons in Biopharmaceutical Science), Colm says they provided him with knowledge and skills he can bring with him throughout his career in the biopharmaceutical industry. 

51177600325_668b334536_k ATU Sligo is recognised as a leader in delivering accredited qualifications in biopharma. ATU Sligo ATU Sligo

 ”The biopharmaceutical courses offered at ATU Sligo appealed to me as they covered a broad range of subjects including upstream, downstream and sterile fill finish, along with laboratory activities and industry regulations. The courses provide all the skills and information you need.” 

Ahead of starting his Master’s, Colm is starting a new role with Janssen Ireland as a Manufacturing Process Specialist this month. As for his advice for managing work and study, he says: “You get out of the course what you put in.”

What is the best way to predict your future? At Atlantic Technological University, we can help you create it. Take the next step forward and choose from over 150 part-time online courses. Work hard and thrive with a flexible online learning experience designed to suit you and your life. Make your future happen with Online & Flexible Learning at ATU. Applications are open for a September 2022 start. Apply now at atu.ie/sligoonline. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact our Admissions team on admissions@itsligo.ie.

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