Loughborough has a great reputation in providing first class systems engineering courses and has a stable relationship with my employer.

The MSc apprenticeship (SEMAP) has enabled me to build on my knowledge and experience within control systems, which has resulted in a closer relationship with the multi-disciplinary team I lead. I am able to understand technical issues in more detail, allowing me to provide more support to the team and engineering capability in the business.

Tell us about your background. What have you been doing before starting the course?

I have been in engineering since 1994, mainly in the defence industry with BAE Systems, but I've also worked in the oil & gas industry for 7 years with electrical subsea connection systems. I started as a electrical apprentice and have worked up to a senior engineering manager position, looking after a team of systems engineers. My current role within BAE Systems Submarines is to lead a team in the design and delivery of control systems for submarines. My previous education was supported by BAE through an apprenticeship scheme in the 90s and I have taken advantage of the fantastic support they provide in developing employees to further my knowledge in control systems after a 20-year education gap!


How did you find starting the apprenticeship after time away from education?

I honestly found it very difficult. However, my tutor at Loughborough is very patient and has been supportive, along with my work place mentor. The work is difficult – and it should be to learn at this level – but with the right level of support and determination it is achievable, even when working in a high pressure role. But it is a big challenge!

How has your experience been on the course?

It is hectic and you have to be committed – the work is difficult but rewarding, especially when you see tutors enthused over your work. It's a great achievement to gain qualifications at this level while balancing work and family life, which demonstrates a level of commitment to professional and personal development to be proud of. I for one certainly am proud in my achievements so far on the apprenticeship scheme – there's still life in the old dog yet.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

The end report – and I thought it would be the easiest. I think you can continually doubt you are on the right track and you need to continually seek reassurance about your thoughts and threads while developing the project to remain confident and on track.

What skills have you learned on the course, and how are you using them back in your role?

I've learned systems engineering knowledge, exposure to structure, organisation and model-based systems engineering. Covering a broad number of modules, I specifically picked areas that would help with my role and every week I utilise some form of learning from them. I've also learned that there can be more than one right answer, and systems are everywhere.

What would you say to someone considering studying this apprenticeship at Loughborough?

Pick modules that suit your skills and interests. Be prepared for hard work and difficult times while you question yourself, but trust the learning, ask for direction, and you will achieve the rewards.

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