A flair for learning

Kidnapping a pop group may not be part of the current student curriculum at Teesside University. However, it was one of Terry Carter’s many fond memories of his time as an engineering student at Teesside Polytechnic in the early 1970s.

Terry CarterTerry’s links with the University also go back to the University’s founding institution, Constantine College, where he studied as an apprentice electrician aged 18.

Terry, 61, is originally from Ormesby, Middlesbrough and now lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, where he is semi-retired and working as a business development manager for an energy company.

An international career in engineering

He returned to Middlesbrough for a short time last year following the death of his mother. Terry took the opportunity to visit his old place of learning, where he graduated in 1973 with a BSc (Hons) Instrumentation & Control Engineering. The degree set Terry on an international career in engineering, covering seven countries, including the USA, Mexico, Australia, Spain and Germany.

Terry said: 'There’s no doubt that my degree gave me a good foundation, it was a great door opener for the rest of my career around the world. I also matured a lot while studying here. The changes to the campus are tremendous and there were only 5,000 students then. The facilities have improved incredibly; there was certainly no campus bookshop in the early 70s.'

Constantine College

Terry’s association with the University started in the late 1960s, when he enrolled as a day release student at Constantine College. At the time he was an 18-year-old apprentice electrician, studying for a City and Guilds Technicians Certificate. He then moved to the former British Steel, and was offered the opportunity to study for a four-year degree, sponsored by his employer.

Terry said: 'Being at Constantine was a bit more sophisticated. I hadn’t really thought about doing a degree, I had a very clear idea about doing my apprenticeship. But then I thought I’d give it a go. I had a ball as a student, even though my life was different to most of my fellow students, as I was away from the campus in Saltburn with my wife Gail.

Rag week

'I was on the rag committee and during one rag week we kidnapped a pop group from the Bowling Alley night club and held them hostage. We also took part in pram races and a parade through Middlesbrough on floats.

Another popular early 70s rag week activity was the beer-fuelled ‘Dwile Flonking’. Terry explains: 'You had two teams, one in a circle and another running round the outside, trying to stop those in the circle from striking you with a wet rag soaked in the ‘chunder bucket’. I very much enjoyed this aspect of student life, and found the old rag week brochure in my mother’s attic.'

Terry’s career highlights include Managing Director of an Australian engineering company and Vice-President of operations for a Texan company. He also worked as a technical director in Mexico, where his daughter Heidi, 36, has settled.

He added: 'It wasn’t all fun; I learned a tremendous amount from the degree, a good practically based course that you could apply to your work. Industry recognised the course content which was so rare at the time.

'It was amazing to find that the University is turning 80 this year. I wish the University future success on its Birthday and a big 'thank you' for providing me with a sound basis for my career.'