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From BTEC to IEng status

Civil Engineering Apprentice

I originally attended Leeds College of Building in 2010 after finishing high school, studying a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Civil Engineering instead of more typical A Levels, the course took two years. During this time I enrolled at Leeds University to study Civil and Environmental Engineering but the month before I was due to start the Meng degree, I switched to study Mechanical Engineering. This turned out to be a mistake as I didn’t enjoy the course so after the first year I was due to transfer back to Civil Engineering but during that summer in 2013 I applied and was successful in gaining an apprenticeship at what was then Grontmij, now Sweco UK.

I was employed in the environmental department but my mentor had experience in most engineering disciplines, so I was able to gain some great experience. Most apprentices enrol on the course I had studied when I left school so I initially didn’t go back to college but after I expressed my desire to continue in education and progress in my career I began studying a HNC and HND on day release in 2015, once again at Leeds College of Building. For the apprenticeship I also completed a Level 5 NVQ Diploma in Construction Management (Sustainability).

These qualifications took a combined three years and during this time I gained EngTech recognition with the ICE. 

"This was a great achievement and verified to myself and others that I was gaining appropriate experience in the workplace as well as further education."

I had found most of my workload was coming from the Ground Engineering (Geotechnical) department and that I enjoyed it, so the decision was made for me to transfer permanently into that team.

In 2018 I then went to Leeds Beckett University studying a BSc in Civil Engineering. This was the first year the degree apprenticeship started for this subject so on top of the degree I knew I would have to ultimately pass an End Point Assessment (EPA) and gain IEng recognition with the ICE. This was a daunting task and at first I was sceptical it would be achievable in the recommended timeframe, however, I discussed it with my Supervising Civil Engineer (SCE) and we developed a plan. I submitted quarterly reports which they reviewed and then I uploaded the sections to IPD online. We were able to spot attributes I needed more experience in such as Commercial Ability so my SCE provided relevant tasks to ensure my IPD could be signed off.

I then started working on my EPA application and submission around September 2020. I prepared a report to demonstrate I had met the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviour requirements of the apprenticeship standards, as well as a 15 minute presentation I would give on the day of my EPA which also involved a two hour written exam held in January 2021, remotely over MS Teams due to Covid-19. After a nervous wait of around five weeks I received confirmation that I had passed.

It has been a long and at times difficult process, but I am very proud of the achievement. Now time for a little break before I start working towards CEng!