Graduation 27.05.24

First for student juggling part time job and new-born

A student who came back to studying after years in a job, continued working and also became a father while studying and achieving a first-class degree.

Ben Parkin, 37, from Kendal, studied Architecture Design & Technology on a part-time basis over the last 3 years. Today he graduated with a First-Class Honours degree from the University of Salford. While completing his degree, he worked part-time in a building trade firm which helped him put into practice skills learnt on the course.

On top of this, Ben and his partner Laura welcomed their first child, Ezra, into the world last year. Before coming to study at The University of Salford, Ben left school and got a summer job as a joiner. However, once he decided to pursue the career change of going back into education, Ben soon realised that the work experience he got prior to starting his journey at the University of Salford proved to be invaluable to his studies.

Ben said: “I definitely found it difficult. I started my degree at 35 and at times when I was younger I didn’t think I would go back into education or even go to university. But once I committed to doing a degree I set out from the start what I was going to achieve and how I was going to achieve it, so even with juggling the job and caring for my child whilst studying, I knew I would get the results I wanted in the end.

“The work before helped, the technical side especially. With architecture it’s a very visual course. When drawing things on paper, I could visualise everything I was making. Some people struggled with it, but what I had done before gave me the extra step ahead of everyone else.”

Dr Maria Yioutani-Iacovides, a Lecturer in Architecture said: “Ben has outstanding academic achievements and his work was incredible; both his drawing skills and written work were of the highest standard. Very conscientious. He is a lovely young man. His priority is his lovely partner and gorgeous baby boy, he worked extremely hard to complete his studies, and at the same time he had to work part-time to provide for his family. He is an inspiration to all of us. We wish him every success in the future and every happiness with his beautiful family.”

Now, after graduating, Ben is in a transition period where he has started working for a practice in Kendal where he is branching into world of energy efficiency in buildings, an area he has recently wanted to delve in to, he said: “It’s just been a whirlwind; looking back I can’t believe it’s over.”