“I started work as a CAD/structural technician in 2005, immediately after my A-Levels. I continued to work while studying part-time for a BSc (Hons) in Civil Engineering, and after I’d been awarded that I became a graduate structural engineer. But I’d always wanted to be a chartered engineer and that’s difficult, if not impossible, without a Masters degree so, in 2012, I enrolled at Salford to do the course part-time over three years.
The course is fantastic, and the lecturers are particularly good. They all worked in the industry first, which is massively important. I’d have found it difficult being lectured to by someone who doesn’t know what it’s like to actually do my job.
A major benefit was being able to apply the things I was learning on the course to my work straight away. Most of the content was directly applicable, and was also geared towards the Institute of Structural Engineers exam. To become chartered you need to build up a portfolio of proven experience and display certain attributes and then you’re invited for interview. If you pass the interview, you can sit the chartership exam.
It takes a while to become chartered, typically about three to five years after graduation until you can start the process, but Salford geared us up specifically for this unique exam structure. In fact, some of the lecturers have previously written questions for the exam so their knowledge and advice is invaluable.
I’d always been really happy with the content and the way it was delivered, but it was only after speaking to other people at work who’d done their Masters in other universities that I realised just how unusual this is. The lecturers are incredibly knowledgeable, and all the material – the content of the lectures and the notes you can download – could be directly applied to my work.
I attended university on a day release basis for three years. I’d say I spent around 10 hours a week working on my Masters, but I didn’t see this as a negative. It was a challenge, of course, but it enhanced my ability to manage my time and I was gaining knowledge I could put into practice every day.
I’m now working as a structural engineer for Sellafield Ltd, a role that I’d never have been able to do if I hadn’t done the Masters.”