One of our fabulous Distance Learning students Graduated from our Level 4 Professional Diploma in Highways Engineering. Highway Engineering is a distance learning package, similar to the way the Open University operates. No attendance at College is necessary, which makes it perfect for anyone anywhere, and you may enrol at any time and study at your own speed at home or work. We did a short Q&A with Claire to find out why she chose Bath College, and why she chose to study Highways.
Can you give us a little background about yourself?
I moved to Devon over 20 years ago with Balfour Beatty as part of a small team to undertake the design and build of two new bypasses. I started in a secretarial role but over time became interested in the technical side of road construction. I decided to take the plunge as a trainee highways technician. Balfour Beatty supported my ambition to do this and have continued to encourage me to further myself – from this first move from secretary to technician through to my academic studies. I have now been working as a Highways Technician for Balfour Beatty on the A30/A35 in Exeter for 17 years.
Why did you choose Highways Distance Learning?
Balfour Beatty are really supportive when it comes to upskilling and believe in having experts in the business. As a full time employee, I needed a way to work and study simultaneously. My goal was to develop in my role at the same as progressing academically. This, however, meant finding a course which I could do outside of working hours – the Highways Distance Learning course allowed me to do just that!
Which courses have you completed via Highways Distance Learning?
I have completed; Highways Maintenance, Highways Technology, Highways Legislation and Administration, Highways Materials and Testing and produced a project on current drainage challenge on the Balfour Beatty joint venture project on the A30/A35 in Devon and Dorset.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of your courses?
Similarly to my work with Balfour Beatty, I feel my strength lies in projects – I found producing in-depth, high quality coursework as part of my course one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things about academic study. Likewise, I love learning from others, whether in my role at Balfour Beatty or with my tutors. The insights and interactions I had with my tutors reminded me how much I love the highways sector.
What has been most valuable to you?
Everything I have learnt I can apply to my work. I feel I can contribute an expertise and understanding of highways projects which benefits my professional progression, but which can also help others in my team. Just like the Balfour Beatty values; I am a trusted expert in my field, and this is recognised by the business and my peers and colleagues. I put this down to the constant support from all my tutors and the administrative team for the feedback on my marked assignments. These comments meant a lot and gave me the confidence to continue.
What made you choose Bath College?
I was specifically looking for a distance learning course and Bath College not only provided what I required but had a Highways Open Tech course in Highway Engineering. I do not come from an engineering background but I did bring practical experience from a live project environment and I was glad they recognised the value of this. I was pleased to see that there was a great range of course covering all the main topics and my areas of interest, so I knew I’d be gaining a well-rounded education there. The college was also very helpful in all aspects of my enrolment.
What do you plan to do with your new found knowledge?
The knowledge that I have gained has already benefited me in my current role – Balfour Beatty believe in having expert, trusted employees delivering their projects so I feel I can contribute and support the business even better than before. Whilst studying, I consolidated my knowledge of the practical skills I learn of the job with an academic understanding. I now feel equipped and confident and aim to progress to a managerial position with Balfour Beatty.
What piece of advice would you give to students looking to enrol on a Highways Distance Learning course?
Don’t keep thinking about it, do it! It was the best decision I made, and I know it has provided me with new skills and experiences to reach my goals and strive to progress professionally and personally. As a mature student, in full-time employment, attending college and stepping so far out of my comfort zone was a scary thought and difficult to balance but I have truly reaped the rewards. If you have an employer who supports you the way Balfour Beatty supported me, it is possible to have the best of both worlds; work and study.
Claire is right, don’t keep thinking about it, do it! You can enrol on one of our numerous Distance Learning courses, or Highways Distance Learning courses. We also offer Love2Learn leisure courses for those looking to learn something new in a more leisurely capacity.
Congratulations Claire, we hope you’ll be back to study with us again and we hope you had a fabulous Graduation Day!