Friends Julie McWilliam and Carole Duncan were the first students to graduate under the flexi-route nursing programme in July 2008. This paves the way for those who want to tailor their studies around their personal circumstances, such as taking time out during school holidays.

Julie-and-Carole 152.jpgBoth passed their courses with Distinction and went on to full-time employment within Aberdeen's hospitals.

Mum-of-three Carole started her degree at RGU after completing the access to nursing course at Aberdeen College where she met Julie.

She said: "My husband worked in Russia four weeks away and three and a half weeks at home. I am so very happy I did my course the way I did and I feel I would not have been able to complete it any other way."

Julie was an auxiliary nurse for 17 years at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary when she decided to apply for her nurses training via the flexi route.

She explained: "Doing the flexi route has given me the best of both worlds; it has allowed me to fulfil my life long ambition of becoming a qualified nurse while being there for my children.'"