Academic sparks fly for former welder

16 July 2015

Chris Theobald

Sean Thorpe graduates as a quantity surveyor  

Sean Thorpe, a quantity surveying graduate, from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).  

A former welder with the hots for education has graduated with a first class honours degree in quantity surveying from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Sean Thorpe, from Poulton-le-Fylde, enrolled at UCLan having followed a varied career path which included spells as a pipe cutter, an apprentice aircraft maintenance engineer on Blackpool Airport, a bar tender and even a postman.

“I settled on the welding and although the pay was good I really wanted something more fulfilling where I could achieve my potential,” he explained.

Sean enrolled on one of UCLan’s foundation programmes, achieving a distinction in the process, enabling him to progress to the second year of the full-time quantity surveying degree.


"“I was attracted to quantity surveying because it’s a varied career and there are plenty of opportunities to travel both at home and abroad.”

As part of his course the 29-year-old went on work placement and he made such a good impression that he was offered a full-time job. But Sean was in demand and accepted a position at Create Construction who allowed him to complete his course on a part-time basis and financed his final year.

He said: “Looking back the course has been the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve developed new skills, my confidence is sky high and I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone. I can’t thank Create Construction enough for all their support.”

Sean also praised his UCLan academics. He said: “My tutors all worked in the industry so they were knowledgeable, approachable and supportive throughout the programme which really made a big difference for someone like me who had been outside education for so long."


“I’ve invested six years to get where I am today and although I’m going to concentrate on the day job for a while I’d like to return one day to study for a master’s degree in construction law.”

In addition to his degree, Sean was also awarded the Marcus Worthington ‘best dissertation’ prize. Marcus Worthington is a local construction company who annually sponsor a prize for best dissertation.

He has recently been promoted to the role of quantity surveyor at Create Construction, in Blackpool, and has just bought a house with girlfriend Charlotte Ronson who has also just graduated from UCLan with a first class degree in building services and sustainable engineering.

“It’s certainly been a year to remember,” concluded Sean. “I would never have thought it at the time but my decision to study at UCLan has changed my life in more ways than one.”

Sean was among 4,000 students who graduated in front of family and friends at Preston’s Guild Hall this week.