Kamila Kolmetz


Allied Health Professions (SWAP)

“NESCol is a great place to learn, especially if you have a gap in your education. The lecturers go above and beyond to help students achieve their qualifications and dreams.”

Kamila Kolmetz has a fascinating education and work history – and she’s only just started the next stage of her learning journey! Kamila is coming to the end of her Allied Health Professions SWAP course at NESCol, and is set to study occupational therapy at RGU after the summer.

44-year-old Kamila is originally from Poland, where she completed a Masters degree in banking and finance. She then worked as an accountant for the city council before relocating to England in 2006.

She said: “A few of my friends had settled in Slough and encouraged me to come to the UK. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to learn the English language from native speakers.”

Kamila worked in a variety of jobs, including as a cleaner for Heathrow Airport and as a Learning Support Assistant in a local primary school. She also had her two children whilst living in Slough.

In 2019, Kamila made another big move up to Scotland. However, with her extended family and friends still in Poland and England, Kamila noted that she felt quite isolated.

She said: “Luckily I found my current job as a support worker. Visiting and helping people on a daily basis is very therapeutic. Because I don’t have relatives here, my clients have become part of my Scottish family. You see them every day, share stories and get to know each other very well.”

It was through her job in the care service that Kamila learned about the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP). SWAP courses provide a route into higher education, such as a degree, at university or college. They are specifically aimed at adults who are returning to education after a gap.

Kamila said: “I love being surrounded by people and working with them, but I live for a challenge so I was looking for an alternative role.

“Thanks to this job and the environment I work in, I was able to observe other professions at work – nurses, paramedics and occupational therapists. I realised I wanted to be able to support my client in a different way, so I decided to focus on occupational therapy.”

Kamila first applied for the SWAP course in 2022, and received a conditional offer which required her to complete the SCQF Level 5 Healthcare course first.

She said: “This was the best thing for me as the subjects were completely different to what I had studied before, and it prepared me for the SWAP course which is quite demanding.

“If you are a determined and dedicated person, and have the motivation to change something in your life, I absolutely recommend the SWAP course. It gives you the opportunity to learn a lot in a relatively short amount of time.

“The best part of all is that after the one-year course, you have access to wider education and can study at different universities.”

The 2023/24 SWAP Allied Health Professions class

The Allied Health Professions SWAP course is recognised by RGU as a suitable entry route for Midwifery, Physiotherapy, Paramedic Practice and Occupational Therapy degrees.

Kamila highlighted that while the course was challenging, she felt supported by the College.

“There was a lot of information to absorb and learn, so it has meant a few late nights. I’m a full-time student, I work part-time and I am a mother of two teenagers – every day is fully booked with responsibilities!

NESCol is a great place to learn, especially if you have a gap in your education. The lecturers go above and beyond to help students achieve their qualifications and dreams.”

Kamila is looking forward to an exciting future, and has secured a place at RGU on the MOccTh Occupational Therapy degree programme. An occupational therapist helps people achieve the best quality of life possible, helping them overcome barriers that may be stopping them from leading an independent life.

She said: “Four years may seem like a long time to study, but for me, being an occupational therapist is a dream. It’s so varied – you can work with everyone, from very young children to the elderly, and in a range of settings, including private practices, hospitals, schools and even gyms.

“You can support people with mental health problems, people with physical conditions or those who have been in accidents – the list goes on.”

With her caring personality, and drive for success, Kamila hopes to specialise in helping people with neurological conditions.

She said: “After the SWAP course, I have a greater understanding, and combined with my optimism and sense of humour, I hope to be a great support for people.

“I would encourage everybody to seek more information out regarding occupational therapy. This is still a pretty unknown specialism; lots of people don’t know that occupational therapists exist or what they do. Let me assure you, they do magic!”