Higher Level Apprentice Louise Progresses her Career with a Built Environment Degree

Higher Level Apprentice Louise Progresses her Career with a Built Environment Degree
May, 2021

Mature Student Louise Martin proves that Higher Level Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers as she works towards achieving her ambitions within the workplace by completing a BENG Hons Top-Up in Building Services and Sustainable Energy at South West College (SWC).  


Louise, who is now a Senior Estimator at Air Cool Engineering (NI) Ltd, began her career path by attending a grammar school in her hometown of Limavady. She completed her GCSE’s but didn’t finish her final A-Level year, deciding to pursue an NVQ in Business Administration after gaining work in this area and enjoying it.   


Louise said: “I had always wanted to get back into education to help progress my career, and when the opportunity arose to complete the foundation degree. I felt it was the perfect opportunity to start learning again and do something related to my job without the University fees and chose South West College after visiting an open day.” 


Louise studied a Higher-Level Apprenticeship, which allowed her to continue employment with Air Cool Engineering (NI) Ltd whilst completing a Foundation Degree in Building Services and Renewable Energy at the SWC, Omagh campus and graduated in 2015.  

Louise said: “I really benefited from the course both professionally and personally, and subsequently, it allowed me to progress up the career ladder at Air Cool Engineering (NI) Ltd.   


A few years later in 2020, I was contacted by the College about a Top-Up Degree. I wanted to study again to expand my skill set and advance my studies and my time before at the SWC encouraged me to go back again.  I was fortunate to have the support of my employer and enrolled on the BENG Hons Top-Up in Building Services and Sustainable Energy, which I am currently studying. “ 


“Even from my first time at the College, I found it to be a very friendly environment with tutors and staff who took time to help with anything that I needed.  The SWC allows students of all ages to learn in a relaxed atmosphere with help available no matter their query. I find the learning environment is very supportive, and as I am a mature student, it brings together people from all different backgrounds, providing the opportunity to meet new people. I cannot speak highly enough of the staff within all the SWC campuses and find it an excellent place to study; even remotely, in these times of a Pandemic, staff are on hand to deal with problems and queries.” 


“My time at the SWC helped me develop both my learning skills, teaching me to prioritise work and making me better organised whilst enhancing my social skills. It is a driven environment that provides students with the impetus they need to learn and achieve the best results possible. “ 


“When I complete my Degree, I intend to progress within my job role. However, the ultimate goal is consultancy at some stage in the distant future.  Over the next few years, I hope to develop my design skills working within my current role and work towards Chartered Engineer status. The Chartered status is most definitely something brought about by South West College.  I have always wanted to further my career, but I wasn’t sure what steps to take or how to go about this until I returned to the College.”   


“My time at the SWC has pointed me in the right direction and encouraged me to take the first steps towards my end goal. I would ideally like to continue my studies further along the line and would always look at the SWC to do this if a course arose that suited my needs.” 


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