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University changed my life

16 June 2010 @TeessideUni


Going to university at the age of 33 turned Michael Boyce’s life around.

Now, seven years on, he is helping to turn round the fortunes of one of the leading manufacturers of flexible pipelines in the oil and gas industry.

It has been a whirlwind transformation for Michael, who left school at 16 and ended up as an area manager in the leisure industry in the South of England.

When he hit 30 and his son Liam was born, he decided to return to his native North East

‘I knew I wanted to do something with my life. I had a handful of mainly science O-levels from my school days and realised that I needed some academic qualifications to get anywhere’, he said.

Michael, now 40, proved to be an academic high-flyer. Working and studying full time, he graduated from Teesside with a Foundation Degree in Engineering and then stayed on and achieved a First Class BEng (Hons) degree in Manufacturing Management three years ago.

He is now in the process of completing an MSc in Advanced Manufacturing Systems whilst continuing to work for Wellstream full time. His intention is to study for a PhD starting next year.

Michael is also leading the way in university-business collaboration through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Wellstream International managed by the University. The company makes large flexible oil and gas pipelines and has manufacturing sites in Newcastle and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and operates worldwide.

Michael plays key role in formidable team Michael’s key role has been winning plaudits after he teamed up with fellow graduate and KTP Associate Robert Lee, 29, from Shildon, County Durham, who graduated with a degree in Accounting and Computing from Newcastle University and then a Master’s in E-business and Information Systems.

Universities UK WeekTogether they have formed a formidable team and helped introduce a range of changes at Wellstream International with the support of management and assistance from academics from the Teesside Manufacturing Centre based within Teesside University’s School of Science & Engineering.

The joint KTP between Teesside University and Wellstream International has not only picked up an ‘A’ grade for excellence from the Technology Strategy Board. It also led to Michael and Robert being offered full-time permanent jobs, as the company didn’t want to lose their skills and expertise.

Together they have been developing the global Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation solution for Wellstream International. Michael is now an ERP Implementation Specialist with the company and Robert is an ERP Integration Lead working on the global ERP implementation solution. Both say they have landed dream jobs despite the recession.

Caroline Capper, Wellstream’s Global ERP Manager, said: 'Wellstream has benefited enormously from having two fresh thinkers with the latest academic knowledge in utilising technology to help manage the business.’

In the News

A degree of success
Evening Gazette, 16/06/2010, p.7
Going to Teesside University in his thirties turned Michael Boyce's life around. Now seven years on, he is helping to turn around the fortunes of one of the area's manufacturers of flexible pipelines