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Apprenticeship completed, to degree or not to degree? Watch

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    Hi,

    I am 21 years old and have completed a 3 year aerospace engineering apprenticeship with a prestigious aerospace company in the summer of 2015 and am now considered by the company as an engineer. From the apprenticeship I have achieve a BTEC level 3 in Mechanical Engineering, a HNC BTEC level 4 in Engineering, an NVQ level 2 and an NVQ level 3. I have applied for university for 2016 entry for mechanical engineering at various universities (with one response so far - an unconditional), however I would like to know what you think of this situation. I have successfully attained a job which would normally require a degree, without getting a degree, and so arguably I do not need to go to university at all, and I could follow the natural progression of my career path (which has no guarantee of going anywhere). If I go to university I remove the security of having a job, but I will also get a degree. My thought is that with a degree and 3 years of industrial experience (the first year was entirely at college), I will have reasonably good chances of getting other engineering jobs. I would like to work abroad, preferably the states, after university. The main reason for me applying for university in the first place is for future employability purposes.

    Thoughts?
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    What would a degree enable you to do that your current qualifications don't? One thing that would personally put me off, is the amount of money it would cost. Ok, you only pay it back once you earn £21k per year and it stops once you earn under that.
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    (Original post by robbor)
    Hi,

    I am 21 years old and have completed a 3 year aerospace engineering apprenticeship with a prestigious aerospace company in the summer of 2015 and am now considered by the company as an engineer. From the apprenticeship I have achieve a BTEC level 3 in Mechanical Engineering, a HNC BTEC level 4 in Engineering, an NVQ level 2 and an NVQ level 3. I have applied for university for 2016 entry for mechanical engineering at various universities (with one response so far - an unconditional), however I would like to know what you think of this situation. I have successfully attained a job which would normally require a degree, without getting a degree, and so arguably I do not need to go to university at all, and I could follow the natural progression of my career path (which has no guarantee of going anywhere). If I go to university I remove the security of having a job, but I will also get a degree. My thought is that with a degree and 3 years of industrial experience (the first year was entirely at college), I will have reasonably good chances of getting other engineering jobs. I would like to work abroad, preferably the states, after university. The main reason for me applying for university in the first place is for future employability purposes.

    Thoughts?
    Put it this way:

    keep working = earning money
    university = creating debt

    also, if you think that your current job is going nowhere you can always look for jobs in the same industry with other companies - you have qualifications and experience - look at recruiters in your industry and they'll do all the hard work of finding you your next job?
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    Thanks guys,

    I think one of the main reasons I want to apply is to further increase my employability. I really want to work as an engineer in the states and/or Canada in the future, and through all of the research i've done, no matter how much experience you have, they will only let you in with a degree.

    I know this will sound weird but I also feel like i've slightly cheated into getting to where I am, i'm doing the same job as graduates will at the end of their scheme, and neither of us will use anything we've learnt through our qualifications, but they've at least learnt this material to a higher level.

    In all honesty i'm pretty stuck as to what to do, as I've been working as an aerospace engineer from such a young age (in comparison to the rest of the country), I've quickly come to realise that industry REALLY isn't what it's cracked up to be. You start to think whilst staring in front of a computer that this isn't the way to spend the rest of your life - and that's not because of the engineering side of it, it's more just the company.

    With an apprenticeship and a degree under my belt, I stand in better stead than either just an apprenticeship or just a degree. I feel that it would come with a great sense of satisfaction, as well as allowing me to broaden my horizons. Another thing i've realised is that if I want to climb the ladder in companies other than the one I did my apprenticeship with, then i'll probably need a degree anyway.
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    (Original post by robbor)
    Hi,

    I am 21 years old and have completed a 3 year aerospace engineering apprenticeship with a prestigious aerospace company in the summer of 2015 and am now considered by the company as an engineer. From the apprenticeship I have achieve a BTEC level 3 in Mechanical Engineering, a HNC BTEC level 4 in Engineering, an NVQ level 2 and an NVQ level 3. I have applied for university for 2016 entry for mechanical engineering at various universities (with one response so far - an unconditional), however I would like to know what you think of this situation. I have successfully attained a job which would normally require a degree, without getting a degree, and so arguably I do not need to go to university at all, and I could follow the natural progression of my career path (which has no guarantee of going anywhere). If I go to university I remove the security of having a job, but I will also get a degree. My thought is that with a degree and 3 years of industrial experience (the first year was entirely at college), I will have reasonably good chances of getting other engineering jobs. I would like to work abroad, preferably the states, after university. The main reason for me applying for university in the first place is for future employability purposes.

    Thoughts?
    I suppose you may find doing a Masters Degree useful cause it could open the door to becoming chartered
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    Hey, can I PM you about some apprenticeship related questions?

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    (Original post by kieran12321LFC)
    I suppose you may find doing a Masters Degree useful cause it could open the door to becoming chartered
    Yeah becoming chartered is quite an important thing for me. You can become chartered without a degree, but I don't fancy waiting a decade followed by some IET tests with a massive failure rate.
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    (Original post by h.xlx)
    Hey, can I PM you about some apprenticeship related questions?

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    Of course
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    Are you eligible to do a masters?
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    (Original post by robbor)
    Of course
    Go for the Degree,
    Itll increase your employability massively
    It will be good to get away from the work life a bit, and have more of a social life while learning.
    Ps; The student loan isn't really a loan in the grand scheme of things, the amount coming out of your bank each month to pay it back is barely anything.!
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    Do the degree, based on your goals and aims, a degree sounds ideal for you. The only downside is the "debt" which, personally, isn't that big a deal as you pay it off in bits anyway. What universities do you have in mind?
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    I'm not eligible for a masters, have to get a BEng first.

    That's another good thing about the degree BlackSweetness, I agree.

    Drummerz, the universities i've applied for are Exeter, Leicester, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Hertfordshire. So far I've got an unconditional from Plymouth. When I was applying for them I really had no idea of my prospects, so I didn't aim massively high. After all I'm not too bothered if I got to a lower ranking uni. Exeter and Plymouth both appeal to me the most due to their location, I mountain bike and surf so these satisfy that on top of the engineering.
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    (Original post by robbor)
    I'm not eligible for a masters, have to get a BEng first.

    That's another good thing about the degree BlackSweetness, I agree.

    Drummerz, the universities i've applied for are Exeter, Leicester, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Hertfordshire. So far I've got an unconditional from Plymouth. When I was applying for them I really had no idea of my prospects, so I didn't aim massively high. After all I'm not too bothered if I got to a lower ranking uni. Exeter and Plymouth both appeal to me the most due to their location, I mountain bike and surf so these satisfy that on top of the engineering.
    Personally think you could have aimed a bit higher with your choices (yes, i'm one of those people), but exeter and leicester are quite good, wish you best of luck.
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    If you want to get chartered make sure you're doing an accredited degree. Also worth checking to see what you need to become a professional engineer in the US if that's where you want to go. One other option might be part time study (OU or similar) - you wouldn't have to give up work and you might even be able to get your employer to fund some or all of it.

    Gotta ask though, if you're not happy with your current job what do you see changing if you have a degree? There aren't many graduate engineering jobs that don't involve spending most of your time sat in front of a computer. I spent a couple of years as a CAD monkey and got bored of it.
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    If you want to get chartered make sure you're doing an accredited degree. Also worth checking to see what you need to become a professional engineer in the US if that's where you want to go. One other option might be part time study (OU or similar) - you wouldn't have to give up work and you might even be able to get your employer to fund some or all of it.

    Gotta ask though, if you're not happy with your current job what do you see changing if you have a degree? There aren't many graduate engineering jobs that don't involve spending most of your time sat in front of a computer. I spent a couple of years as a CAD monkey and got bored of it.
    Yeah the courses i've applied for are all accredited, open uni and part time are options, but in some ways I want to get it done when I'm fully concentrating on it. That might not be the best argument for that but oh well.

    I'm not saying it won't be, but with a degree I widen my options massively, I can find what suits me best and move around more etc...
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    (Original post by robbor)
    Thanks guys,

    I think one of the main reasons I want to apply is to further increase my employability. I really want to work as an engineer in the states and/or Canada in the future, and through all of the research i've done, no matter how much experience you have, they will only let you in with a degree.

    I know this will sound weird but I also feel like i've slightly cheated into getting to where I am, i'm doing the same job as graduates will at the end of their scheme, and neither of us will use anything we've learnt through our qualifications, but they've at least learnt this material to a higher level.

    In all honesty i'm pretty stuck as to what to do, as I've been working as an aerospace engineer from such a young age (in comparison to the rest of the country), I've quickly come to realise that industry REALLY isn't what it's cracked up to be. You start to think whilst staring in front of a computer that this isn't the way to spend the rest of your life - and that's not because of the engineering side of it, it's more just the company.

    With an apprenticeship and a degree under my belt, I stand in better stead than either just an apprenticeship or just a degree. I feel that it would come with a great sense of satisfaction, as well as allowing me to broaden my horizons. Another thing i've realised is that if I want to climb the ladder in companies other than the one I did my apprenticeship with, then i'll probably need a degree anyway.
    What is it that you are actually doing in your job? Reason I'm asking is because a lot of engineering apprenticeships train you to become a technician or a CAD designer, rather than an actual engineer. If you're at the computer all day, you may be a CAD designer, and if so I could see why you'd not find it that fulfilling. But I don't know about your situation, you might well be doing genuine engineering work. And as you've already realised, a lot of engineering jobs don't really make much use of the content taught during the degree anyway...

    It's a tough one. If you want to move about different companies and climb the ladder, then a degree probably will help. And already having the experience and apprenticeship will help with securing a job upon graduation. Is there any chance for your current company to sponsor you through the degree?
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    (Original post by robbor)
    Hi,

    I am 21 years old and have completed a 3 year aerospace engineering apprenticeship with a prestigious aerospace company in the summer of 2015 and am now considered by the company as an engineer. From the apprenticeship I have achieve a BTEC level 3 in Mechanical Engineering, a HNC BTEC level 4 in Engineering, an NVQ level 2 and an NVQ level 3. I have applied for university for 2016 entry for mechanical engineering at various universities (with one response so far - an unconditional), however I would like to know what you think of this situation. I have successfully attained a job which would normally require a degree, without getting a degree, and so arguably I do not need to go to university at all, and I could follow the natural progression of my career path (which has no guarantee of going anywhere). If I go to university I remove the security of having a job, but I will also get a degree. My thought is that with a degree and 3 years of industrial experience (the first year was entirely at college), I will have reasonably good chances of getting other engineering jobs. I would like to work abroad, preferably the states, after university. The main reason for me applying for university in the first place is for future employability purposes.

    Thoughts?
    why not stay with your current company for your whole career? people think they have to flit around like blue arsed flies to be successful... not so.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    What is it that you are actually doing in your job? Reason I'm asking is because a lot of engineering apprenticeships train you to become a technician or a CAD designer, rather than an actual engineer. If you're at the computer all day, you may be a CAD designer, and if so I could see why you'd not find it that fulfilling. But I don't know about your situation, you might well be doing genuine engineering work. And as you've already realised, a lot of engineering jobs don't really make much use of the content taught during the degree anyway...

    It's a tough one. If you want to move about different companies and climb the ladder, then a degree probably will help. And already having the experience and apprenticeship will help with securing a job upon graduation. Is there any chance for your current company to sponsor you through the degree?
    My current job is an Environmental Navigation and Science Assembly Integration and Test Engineer (pretty long title). I basically look after the assembly, integration and test of one of the ESA science projects going on at the moment. It does have it's cool moments, I'm sitting at a computer half the time, and down in the clean rooms the other half fitting items to the space craft. It's very much a 'beginning to end' kind of job. The only problem is with the Aerospace industry, is that the workload undulates massively, so you could be doing quite literally nothing for 4 weeks, and then have a week of 12 hours days.

    But yes, at my age I don't want to sink into a job that i'll stay in for 30 years, and this could quite easily be that kind of job, so I want to keep my options open for as long as possible. By getting a degree and becoming chartered will definitely help me with this - it also means I may get the chance to experience other engineering industries.
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    (Original post by the bear)
    why not stay with your current company for your whole career? people think they have to flit around like blue arsed flies to be successful... not so.
    I work with plenty of people who have done this. If your personality allows you to do then then fair enough, but that is definitely not for me.
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    (Original post by robbor)
    Thanks guys,

    I think one of the main reasons I want to apply is to further increase my employability. I really want to work as an engineer in the states and/or Canada in the future, and through all of the research i've done, no matter how much experience you have, they will only let you in with a degree.

    I know this will sound weird but I also feel like i've slightly cheated into getting to where I am, i'm doing the same job as graduates will at the end of their scheme, and neither of us will use anything we've learnt through our qualifications, but they've at least learnt this material to a higher level.

    In all honesty i'm pretty stuck as to what to do, as I've been working as an aerospace engineer from such a young age (in comparison to the rest of the country), I've quickly come to realise that industry REALLY isn't what it's cracked up to be. You start to think whilst staring in front of a computer that this isn't the way to spend the rest of your life - and that's not because of the engineering side of it, it's more just the company.

    With an apprenticeship and a degree under my belt, I stand in better stead than either just an apprenticeship or just a degree. I feel that it would come with a great sense of satisfaction, as well as allowing me to broaden my horizons. Another thing i've realised is that if I want to climb the ladder in companies other than the one I did my apprenticeship with, then i'll probably need a degree anyway.
    I would do the degree.

    Maybe your employer would sponsor you through a degree? Worth asking, I think. It's good to have a job and at university you'd have 5 months of holidays after all.
 
 
 
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