Taking the part-time route through his studies enabled Scott Sugars to combine his role at BAE Systems, with higher education. A combination that gave Scott a wealth of skills he credits with being behind his success.
After studying towards a HND in Mechanical and Computer Aided Engineering at UCLan’s partner college Furness, Scott was then sponsored by his employer BAE Systems to progress onto the BEng(Hons) Computer Aided Engineering degree course and combined part-time study with working at BAE Systems.
“Working full-time and completing a part-time degree brings its challenges, as there are never enough hours in the day, but the university tried to make the course as concise as possible to minimise disruption to your working week,” recalled Scott. “I vividly remember a great learning environment – my fellow students were all great and all supported each other. Academically, I remember the useful, applicable course content and helpful tutors who gave us valuable support and a degree of flexibility when needed.”
“I left with thorough understanding of engineering, as we looked at everything from engineering itself to electronics and mechanics. However we learnt a whole host other relevant skills such as analysis, time management, organisation and the ability to think critically about problems,”
Shortly after graduating, Scott was promoted to Team Leader for Engineering Design Quality on the Astute submarine programme, BAE carried out on behalf of the Royal Navy. The following year, Scott applied for a position as a Quality Manager in another unit of BAE Systems where he spent “four tough, challenging and rewarding years,” before being promoted to Head of Quality for the land sector of BAE Systems UK, working with major artillery and fighting vehicle programmes, primarily for the United States and United Kingdom.
“Following a business reorganisation in 2009 I became Head of Quality for a Global Weapons business, where I am responsible for major Artillery and Weapons programmes at three international sites in the UK, Sweden and the USA. The role is incredibly challenging and diverse dealing with multiple cultures in a single day, all having unique styles and etiquette that requires careful management - something you don’t necessarily recognise at first with the US or our European neighbours. Travel is frequent and can be a strain on the family but at the same time there is the buzz of a challenge to be mounted and face-to-face engagement is the best method for that.”
Speaking of his time at UCLan, Scott commented: “It was such a worthwhile time. Experience is vital in business, but if you add that to academic achievement, then you’ll be on the road to career success. My time at UCLan helped prepare me for the many facets of my role today. I gained a broad engineering background, but above all the ability to not get overwhelmed by a mountain of work through effective organisation and time management can be traced back to my time studying part-time on the degree,” he added.
TOP TIP FOR UNDERGRADUATES: Learn effective time management skills and be ruthless with it (so start that assignment early!). Also, build relationships with fellow students, support each other and above all believe in yourself!