Skip to content ↓

Sasha Clapham

Registered Nurse, Specialising in Oncology
Class 2016

A Levels:  Psychology, Biology and History

Apprentices: Advanced Level Bioscience Apprentice, NVQ in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities

University: Biomedical Science at Sheffield Hallam University, Adult Nursing at Sheffield Hallam University

What have you been up to since leaving Forge Valley?


Since leaving school I completed one year of sixth form before leaving due to having poor mental health with anxiety and feeling burnt out. On a whim I attended an apprentice fair and became employed by Sheffield Diagnostic Genetics Services at Sheffield Children's Hospital as a Medical Laboratory Assistant. For the first two years I was an Advanced Level Bioscience Apprentice, achieving a double distinction* diploma in BTEC Level 3 Applied Science and NVQ in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities before securing full-time employment. Whilst working in the labs I have been able to study Bsc Biomedical Science at Sheffield Hallam University, with the intention of furthering my career in genetics to become a Biomedical Scientist.

Have you had to overcome any barriers or challengers?

In 2019 my Mum was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast cancer which turned my world upside down. I then decided to change my career path entirely and started studying Bsc Adult Nursing at Sheffield Hallam University; inspired by the Macmillan Nurse looking after my mum. Unfortunately, Mum passed away during my first year at University and during the COVID-19 pandemic; losing a parent at the age of 22 is something I could never have predicted and shortly after my Grandad died too. I persevered through this bleak period with my family's support and gained experience working on placement in diverse nursing fields such as brain and spinal injury rehabilitation, vascular surgery, pre-operative assessment, acute elderly medical care, endocrine and diabetes.

While at Forge Valley did you have a favourite subject or subjects?

My favourite subject while at school was Sociology. I enjoyed this subject as it helped me to understand social issues and how they impact myself and others. I would say that this subject was perfect in preparing me for nursing and working with patients, as social factors heavily influence health outcomes.

Who would you say was your most influential teacher?

Miss Norton influenced me the most, she was my sociology and PSHE teacher. I remember her lessons being very engaging and she helped me to develop my critical writing skills. I have found this skill to be incredibly useful while studying at University level education.

Enrichment activities while at Forge Valley that influenced you?

I was a Sheffield Cutler’s NHS Ambassador for 2 years. This involved attending Twilight sessions with pupils from Forge Valley and 3 other Sheffield schools every fortnight at Northern General Hospital Training Centre. Some of the activities involved learning CPR, visiting the laboratories and mortuary, listening to talks by various professionals. From my work and achievements as an ambassador I was awarded a “Golden Ambassador” certificate and after leaving Y11 was invited to Cutler’s Hall for an evening of fine dining with the Master Cutler, Sheffield Mayor and various MP’s.

What are you doing now?

This September I will graduate as a Registered Nurse and have secured employment specialising in Oncology for St Bartholomew's Hospital, the second largest Cancer Centre in London where I will be closely working with cancer research teams. Currently engaged to my partner who I met while working at the Sheffield Diagnostic Genetics Services, wedding pending. Overall, I am proud of my career path and excited to embark on my new nursing journey in London.

Do you have a message to current pupils at Forge Valley?

My GCSE results suggested that I would be no good at science and that my strengths were in English and History. Despite this I still pursued a career in science because of the vast range of exciting higher education opportunities available, so explore your options. Life is unpredictable and your career may take a completely different path due to inspiration or circumstances, so don't put too much pressure on yourself.