Ellie Mitchell - College of Engineering and Technology - University of Derby

Ellie Mitchell, BSc (Hons) Mathematics, 2014; MSc Innovative Engineering Solutions, 2015

What are you doing now?

Currently I am employed as a Health and Safety Advisor working for Aggregate Industries UK which is part of the global company Lafarge Holcim. The business is supported by a team of 10 which advise the European Health and Safety requirements throughout all of the divisions of Aggregate Industries: from the extraction of the aggregates from our quarries through the different processes, manufacturing plants, asphalt and cement in order to supply the construction industry. Being part of the team has provided the opportunity to take on a vocation that interests me and has variety.

I decided to return into education after my children had become less dependent as they were getting older.

What were the main reasons that you took that course?

I remembered that at school I enjoyed my mathematics lessons so the subject selection was easy for me. After leaving school straight after my G.C.S.E.’s I did not have any A Level qualifications so, I started by completing an Access to Higher Education diploma at my local college. Unfortunately they were unable to offer me a level 3 in Mathematics, which was a requirement for me to apply for the BSc (Hons) Mathematical Studies. After contacting the University of Derby I was accepted onto the level 3 access course.

Once I had completed both my Access course and the level 3 mathematics course, I applied for the BSc (Hons) Mathematical Studies course at the University of Derby. After completing my degree I wanted to continue my studies and the opportunity arose to apply for an MSc in Innovative Engineering Solutions.

The varied contents of the Mathematical course appealed to me and that this would be beneficial when I had decided on my final career path. Whilst I was studying my level 3 mathematics at Derby I made the decision that I wanted to continue at the University which I felt very comfortable at.

The MSc Innovative Engineering Solutions course contained various modules which appealed to me, although what really attracted me was that this course included a placement within an engineering environment; the placement experience I found invaluable.

How did the lecturers inspire you?

The lecturers were all great at their jobs but also went above and beyond to provide support through both of the good and rough times. Showing that I could complete the course when I initially struggled to grasp some of the aspects. They were always there to provide any support or arranged additional tuition time.

All of the lecturers were passionate about the subject and this shone through and was infective throughout the lectures, you couldn’t help but enjoy the subject even more.

What are your future plans?

Both my BSc and MSc complement each other and I have found the combination beneficial within my current role. I am not only able to look at problems and but I am able to provide them with some solutions and also with analytical research.

I am currently also completing several Health and Safety courses and examinations to progress to chartered status within my role. In addition to this I am currently looking at courses held at the University of Derby and developed in partnership with the institute of Quarrying and Industry experts to further my competency of the quarrying industry. I may continue my studies in the future to complete a PhD and I would have no second thoughts in completing with the University of Derby.

What would you say to anyone else coming to this university to study?

I would encourage them 100%, as the support and encouragement that students receive from the lecturers is exceptional and personally I would not consider studying at any other institute unless the options were not available at the University of Derby.

Who are you still in touch with from the University of Derby?

I have stayed in touch with both students and lecturers since completing my studies. As a mature student you do worry that it will be difficult to integrate with the younger students and that they may treat you differently, this however is not the case and friendships of all ages were made.

"All of the lecturers were passionate about the subject and this shone through and was infective throughout the lectures, you couldn't help but enjoy the subject even more." Ellie Mitchell