Michael found that part-time study led to a big step up in his career.
'I wasn't particularly academic at school but here I am, achieving a first-class honours degree.'
After leaving school I joined an instrument apprentice scheme with ICI. While working as an assistant asset engineer for Huntsman, I decided that I would like to work towards chartered status. After a discussion with a Teesside University advisor, I enrolled on the BEng (Hons) Instrumentation and Control.
Obviously, after many years out of study I was apprehensive about being able to successfully complete the course – but my employer was willing to sponsor my studies so, in the words of my lecturers, ‘What did I have to lose?’.
I can honestly say that the lecturers’ enthusiasm, approachability and desire to teach is the best I have ever experienced. My friendships with lecturers and students will continue long after I graduate. This new group of friends was invaluable throughout the course: sharing ideas, supporting each other, the odd social night out, working together on assignments – and they provide great networking opportunities.
I am married with two daughters – the youngest was born during my study time – and I have, at times, had to make a number of sacrifices. I have relied heavily on my family’s encouragement and the support they have provided throughout the four years. Make no mistake, studying, working and raising a family at the same time is no easy task. But now, as my study draws to an end, I can begin to see the rewards for sticking at it.
I have just got a job as a measurement and instrument projects engineer with BP Exploration. This is a significant step up in my career and progress to chartership. Without doubt, this would not have been possible without my degree.
I truly believe this degree has and will continue to change my life for the better – not only in terms of career and salary but in proving to myself that I can do it! I wasn't particularly academic at school but here I am, achieving a first-class honours degree! Some achievement from a local Boro lad.