Craig White

Current student

MSc Renewable Energy Systems Technology (Distance Learning)
Study area
Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

The programme has already enabled me to work in the industry and I have contributed to published work.

Why did you choose to study your course at Loughborough University?

I did extensive research online and found Loughborough CREST MSc to be the best and most respected Renewable Energy Masters. It was also in a great location, within a few hours from family in England and home in South Wales. I also had friends who had studied at Loughborough who enjoyed their time at the University. The course also looked like a detailed and comprehensive analysis of all renewable energy technologies.

Why did you decide to do the course via distance learning?

I studied via distance learning as I lived in Cardiff and had a full-time job. I was unable to leave Cardiff and move to Loughborough, so the part-time study was ideal. I also didn’t have prior experience with engineering concepts and higher mathematics, so starting off with one module was a perfect introduction and to gauge my understanding of the content.

Which aspects of the course did you particularly enjoy?

The well laid out study plan for each semester, outlining all the dates for tutorials, coursework and revision time. This gives you time to arrange study time around commitments and to construct an effective study plan.

The introductory sessions were also great to familiarise with staff and students and to feel a part of the course. I really enjoyed the routine of reading through the unit, doing the tutorial questions and then getting feedback and a chance to go through the questions.

The course fundamental units are also a brilliant way to spend the summer prior to the first year preparing. As I had no experience in engineering, this was a much needed first glimpse into my new world of study.

What support did you receive from the department and the University?

Great support; the distance learning team are always just an email away and you can ask tutors and PhD staff for help on assignments. There are message boards for modules, which are actively used by students and monitored by staff. Every question I had was answered or suggestions were given. The online tutorials were always enjoyable and helped you feel connected and built friendships.

How did the teaching quality and facilities enhance your learning?

Using the remote lab in Solar 1 was really interesting, I have never tested solar cells and to be remotely controlling the test equipment from Wales was great. Access to industry used software and modelling tools is also fantastic, particularly WindFarm and PVsyst.

What are your career ambitions and how do you think the programme will help you with that?

The programme has already helped me to get a research position at Swansea University, where I have been modelling PV systems and the active buildings in place there. Swansea University were already working with the Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology and my experience with PVsyst helped me enormously.

As I have now moved to Portugal, I aim to continue work in solar modelling or to move into a career in either wind farm design, wind turbine design or dynamics, or a career in aid work, assisting those without any form of power generation. The CREST course has covered all of the above career paths in great detail, but learning Portuguese must come first!

What would you say to someone considering studying this course?

To create a study plan and stick to it, my best results correlated with good study plans. To never be afraid to ask for help, no matter how basic or silly the question may seem to you, I avoided doing this on numerous occasions and when I finally did, the responses were extremely helpful. Finally, to respect the module limit per semester, this is there for a reason!

What has been your greatest achievement during your time at Loughborough?

I’m very proud of completing the course well in three years, having never studied engineering or had an interest in mathematics. I now feel ready for a career in renewables and have built a fascination with scientific processes.

Would you recommend the course to others?

Absolutely, the course has already enabled me to work in the industry and I have contributed to published work. There have been tough times as with all worthwhile things especially nearing coursework deadlines and exams but I have enjoyed it thoroughly and have made some good friends whilst doing it. There is also a strong international demographic, outlining the course’s reputation overseas.

Do you have any advice for anyone considering doing the programme?

To go for it, but to be conscious of your life commitments each semester and to align the modules accordingly. To involve yourself thoroughly in the chat rooms, message boards and tutorials, as active participation will help yourself and others around you. I strongly feel that we need a focus on all aspects of renewable energy for the benefit of future generations - this course provides it so it’s a great and worthwhile choice.