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Celebrating Success Case Study – Distance Learning Student of the Year

 

Last week we held our annual Celebrating Success Awards, celebrating amazing results and contributions from our students across all aspects of the College. The Awards are broken down into ‘Students of the Year’, with each discipline being able to nominate their chosen student of the year.

 

Peter King was the nomination for Distance Learning Student of the Year. Peter has been studying a BTEC Diploma in Highway Engineering to support progression in his role as a Trainee Technician for North Somerset Council. He is now a Principal Engineer in the Highways Operations Team, responsible for a range of Highway Maintenance Projects.

 

On the night of Celebrating Success, Peter was presented with two awards. Not only did he win the Distance Learning Student of the Year for his hard work and dedication, but his project on his Diploma was awarded the ‘Institute of Highway Engineers’ Best Project Award 2019′ by IHE (Institute of Highway Engineers).

 

“The IHE’s Best Project Award acknowledges the considerable hard work and dedication the learner has made over a sustained period of their studies. The IHE sees Bath College as a key partner in providing the knowledge and skills the highway engineering sector so desperately needs in these challenging times.” – Richard Hayes

 

We caught up with Peter to find out how he found completing his Diploma with us and how he felt about winning our Distance Learning Student of the Year.

 

Can you give us a little background about yourself?

I left a small construction company working on the tools to start a new opportunity as a Trainee Technician for North Somerset Council. I was encouraged to take on the Professional Diploma in Highway Engineering by my employer to enable me to develop my career. Five years later and I am now a Principal Engineer in the Highways Operations Team, with responsibility for the delivery of a wide range of highway maintenance projects across North Somerset.

 

Why did you choose to study the BTEC Professional Diploma in Highway Engineering?

It was recommended to me as part of my Trainee Programme with North Somerset Council. They funded my course, with an expectation that I would dedicate my time to complete it. I chose this course over a generic engineering qualification as I wanted to focus my career in Highways engineering.

 

On your course, what has been most valuable to you?

  • The ability to fit my studies around my home and work life
  • The knowledge I have gained to support my practical experience within the industry
  • The knowledge I have gained to support others in my team, helping them to develop their careers
  • The support and opportunities I received from my employer, North Somerset council

 

What made you choose Bath College?

As far as I am aware it was the only college offering a Highways-specific qualification. The course was relevant to my current job and benefited both myself and my employer.

 

What do you plan to do with the knowledge you have gained from studying for the Professional Diploma in Highway Engineering?

Since completion of my course with Bath College, I have moved onto an ILM Level 5 Leadership and Management qualification. In conjunction with the ILM course, I hope to use the technical knowledge I have gained from the Highways Distance Learning course to assist me in developing junior members of the team. I will also use my knowledge to deliver larger projects.

 

What piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to enrol on a Highways Distance Learning course?

  • Understand your learning style, it will stand you in good stead for your course.
  • Work with your tutors and ask for help if you get stuck. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience from which you can learn and are always happy to assist you. It’s not always easy if you don’t have classmates or a face to face tutor to talk things over with. I was fortunate to have great employers and tutors who were dedicated to helping me to achieve my goals.
  • Engage and ensure you have ‘buy-in’ from your employer, it makes your life much easier. The support and learning opportunities I received from my employer made a real difference.
  • Think positively, stay motivated and enjoy it!

 

How do you feel about receiving the Institute of Highway Engineers’ Best Project Award 2019 as well as Bath College’s Distance Learning Student of the Year 2019 Award?

It’s a great feeling. It was such an honour to not only be recognised by Bath College but also by the IHE, the experts in my field.

 

 

The Distance Learning courses at Bath College cover a broad spectrum. You can pick from CPD courses across a variety of professional subjects, such as Administration or Counselling, or our more specific Highways Specialist courses. Distance Learning is a unique way of learning; you learn at your own pace in your own time, with the option of communicating with your assigned tutor if you get stuck or need any help. You complete a range of online modules over a varying period of time, these modules are how you are assessed.

 

If you’re interested in finding out more about our Distance Learning courses, you can find them by clicking here. Alternatively you can contact our Distance Learning team by emailing DistanceLearning@bathcollege.ac.uk or highways@bathcollege.ac.uk.

 

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Case Study: Claire Dean – Highways Distance Learning

 

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 Distance Learning 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!

 

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Case Study: Julianne Mackrell – Distance Learning

 

We caught up with Julianne, one of our Distance Learning students, to ask about her Distance Learning journey. Julianne has been working hard, undertaking not one, or two, but five Distance Learning courses! Julianne fancied a change of career and decided to retrain with us, and found that Distance Learning was the best option for her.

 

Distance Learning courses are courses you can undertake in your spare time, they do have a set deadline, but you can do as much or as little as you like per day, and you take charge of your own learning. They’re ideal as CPD, or to aid with a change of career, or even as a stepping stone into a career. The flexibility allows you to fit around your life, you don’t need to commit to coming in to College (although if you would like to come in to talk to the friendly Distance Learning team you can). If you would like to look at our range of Distance Learning courses you can find out more info by clicking here.

 

We asked Julianne a series of questions about how she found the Distance Learning courses, read on to find out what she thought.

 

Can you give us a little background about yourself?

After a 25-year career in estate agency in Bath I decided it was time for change. I found that I was facing the same challenges as that of a young person, not having the right experience in the field I was hoping to move into. So it became obvious that my best option would be to re-train. With this thought in mind I went back to Bath College, where I had completed my A-levels some years prior.

 

Why did you choose Distance Learning?

Distance learning was the perfect for me to study alongside my job in order to get some knowledge and understanding of the new area of employment I wished to move into.

 

Which courses have you completed via Distance Learning?

I have completed courses which would compliment my move into education, relating to autism and education

 

What was the most enjoyable aspect of your courses?

For me the best part about the distance learning courses was the ability to be able to train at your own speed, so if you had spare time you could do lots of work and vice versa. The flexibility of the training has made it less difficult.

 

What has been most valuable to you?

Being able to undertake the courses at my own pace allowed me to transition into my new career and I am delighted that I have started working as a teaching assistant in the last five weeks. So the course has been invaluable in providing me access to a new career path for the next 25 years.

 

What made you choose Bath College?

I was a pupil at Bath College over 25 years ago and have returned on an off for various evening classes. I’ve always found Bath College facilitates courses well and provides a good standard of education. The site in Bath is easy for me to access so I can pop in if I have any queries, but I have found that most of the information is available in the material provided.

 

What do you plan to do with your new found knowledge?

I have actually developed a huge interest in autism and have always had an interest in education, culture and language acquisition. I am considering looking at ways to see if these areas overlap in any way to study an MSc (Master of Science Degree).

 

What piece of advice would you give to students looking to enrol on a Distance Learning course?

If you are self-motivated, determined, and know which direction that you wish to go in then this is the course for you. Before you embark on your course, do speak to some of the helpful staff at Bath College who will be able to help and advise on a course to best suit you. In order to do well at a Distance Learning course, I would say you would need to be self-disciplined, as you are not required to attend classes. Distance learning is very much about wanting to achieve the qualification, and working at your own pace. It does still need to be completed within a maximum timeframe however, so it is important to understand you are committing to completing the task.

 

We’re so thrilled to see Distance Learning having a great impact on someone, and we’re so happy for Julianne finding a new career she is passionate about. Hopefully we’ll hear more from her and her journey!

 

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