Neil Hitchman's Degree Apprenticeship with UCLan
Building Services and Sustainable Engineering graduate, Neil Hitchman, says the degree apprenticeship route allowed him to achieve his dream degree alongside becoming a professionally registered engineer, gaining experience at The Trafford Centre refurbishment site.
Working at VINCI Construction UK Ltd, a specialist civil engineering firm, Neil originally planned to complete his degree using the traditional route. Instead, he transferred to the degree apprenticeship programme as he felt it better suited his end goals. The apprenticeship element ran alongside his degree, allowing him to achieve several core competencies at his company with the additional benefit of becoming a professionally registered IEng upon completion. He also has his name listed on the national database for accredited engineers.
During his time at the University of Central Lancashire, Neil built an impressive portfolio of experience through his role at VINCI Construction UK. He worked on the multi-million-pound refurbishment of the Barton Square extension at The Trafford Centre as well as a new build project at King’s School in Macclesfield.
"UCLan was everything I expected and hoped for from a University and I have made some lifelong friends. I truly cherish the four years I was at UCLan"— Neil Hitchman, Building services and sustainable engineering Degree Apprenticeship, BEng graduate
Based at UCLan’s Preston Campus, Neil benefited from access to specialist machinery and test equipment, including industry-standard software to carry out complex engineering calculations. As a mature student with a young family, Neil found the course challenging at times but felt supported by the University and praises his course tutor’s ability to create an ideal environment for learning.
"As a 40-year-old that hadn’t been to college for nearly 20 years I finally achieved my dream of doing a degree. The tutors created such a fantastic learning environment and every piece of machinery or test equipment needed is available to carry out all the experiments and practical sessions necessary for the report write up."— Neil Hitchman, Building services and sustainable engineering Degree Apprenticeship, BEng graduate
Looking to the future, Neil plans to write and update technical guides and publications for his industry and help engineers better understand design requirements and standards. He is also keen to continue his involvement with CIBSE and the IET as part of committees that develop regulations and standards.