Achieving professional success with a degree apprenticeship

Charlie decided to study the Civil Engineering Degree Apprenticeship as a way to develop his knowledge whilst gaining valuable practical experience. Charlie’s commitment, drive and determination helped him achieve Incorporate Engineer status whilst studying the course.

Charlie started his Civil Engineering Degree Apprenticeship in 2018 after completing a HNC at Chesterfield College. At the time he worked for Costain – a Tier 1 Civil Engineering Contractor who specialise in major infrastructure consultancy and construction – and was looking to combine the practical experience he’d gained, with a better understanding of the principles of civil engineering.

First impressions

After securing financial support from his employer, Charlie visited the campus to find out more about the course. He was impressed with the industry relevant content and the specialist facilities available to students.

“The degree content allowed me to go into a lot greater depth in the subjects we’d touched on at college. The tutors had industry relevant experience and the facilities in the geotechnical and fluid labs looked interesting. I hadn’t used a lot of this equipment before so was keen to learn more about them. Overall, the course felt like a good fit for what I was looking for.”

Benefits of learning whilst working

The course requires students to attend campus one day a week and the majority are in employment for the other four days. Although it was demanding combining work and study, Charlie felt it was the best way to learn.

“The course content was relevant to my work, so I was able to apply what I was learning, and the tutors delivered the modules in practical, real-world terms because they’d had experience within the sector. It also helped that I’d had experience of some of the content we were learning about. When the lecturers discussed and showed slides of different engineering operations being undertaken such as piling, drainage and earthworks I understood them and was able to relate to my own previous site experience.”

Civil Engineering Degree apprentice at graduation

The course content was relevant to my work, so I was able to apply what I was learning, and the tutors delivered the modules in practical, real-world terms because they’d had experience within the sector.

Charlie Jackson
Senior Engineer and graduate of Civil Engineering Degree Apprenticeship

Achieving Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status

The course is accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators which includes the Institution of Civil Engineers. This provides students with the opportunity to sit their Incorporated Engineers Professional Review as part of the End Point Assessment, making it particularly appealing, as Charlie explains.

“I wanted to achieve Incorporated Engineer status because it opens up so many opportunities within the industry. To be eligible to undertake the review I had to complete quarterly reports through each year as part of the process, and the degree apprenticeship really helped. I was able to use examples from my studies to achieve some of the ‘Knowledge, Skills and Abilities’ attributes, so the two worked well together.”

Charlie chose to complete a degree apprenticeship because he saw it as an ideal opportunity to gain practical experience whilst developing his knowledge of the profession, without having to finance the course himself.

“Not only has the apprenticeship developed my knowledge and skills, but it’s also given me a better understanding of other disciplines with civil engineering. I can see how the work I carry out is related to the work of designers, quantity surveyors, consultants for example and I have developed a much more strategic viewpoint of the industry.”

Future ambitions

Since completing his degree, Charlie has successfully achieved Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status. He remains committed to his professional development and would like to build on his success by completing the fully chartered CEng status. The determination, hard work, drive, and dedication Charlie used to complete his studies with the University will undoubtedly take him there.

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If on-the-job learning appeals to you, an apprenticeship could be a good choice. If you are an employer, apprenticeships can be a really cost-effective way to develop your workforce.

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