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School of Science, Engineering & Design

Student views

Oliver Burrill

Oliver is a production engineer at R and R Ice Cream in Leeming Bar, near Northallerton.

Oliver Burrill

HNC Electrical and Electronic Engineering

'I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned and implement it at work every day.'

Why did you choose to combine work and study?

I work for R and R Ice Cream in Leeming Bar, near Northallerton as a production engineer. I joined the company as an apprentice after achieving three A levels in design technology, physics and business studies at Richmond sixth form.

It’s worked out better for me this way; I wanted to build up some hands on experience rather than just go straight to university. I started my apprenticeship through Darlington College, and I studied a BTEC in operations and maintenance then moved on to the HNC in Teesside University’s Centre in Darlington College.

I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned and implement it at work every day. The tutors were always helpful as they’d come from an industry background themselves and I could always ask them questions if I wasn’t sure.

How did you cope with studying and working at the same time?

Combining 12-hour shifts with day release courses, study and my apprenticeship meant I had to be highly organised with my time. It got a little bit hectic, but I still had a social life. I just had to book a few days or weeks in advance.

My parents Jill and Kevin watched me graduate. My Dad’s pleased as he’s got an engineering background as a gunsmith and locksmith. I’m also pleased to be graduating from the route I wanted with a good job, experience and the qualifications, especially as my HNC is from the University of the Year.

What does the future now hold?

I am studying for a one-year Teesside University foundation degree in electrical engineering design at Darlington College while completing my apprenticeship there.