JackHazard
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Hi Guys

I completed a BTEC Level 3 In Engineering course back in 2015 and I really cant decide on what to do next. I need to make my mind up as it will have been 2 years since i've been in education as i've just been working since I finished the course.

I would like to continue with the subject of engineering but do not know what step I should take next. There's Uni which is the obvious choice and it seems really great but the cost of it does seem to put me off a bit, then there's higher apprenticeships which I have found to be quite hard to find and it seems that generally the very best students seem to get accepted. Ive also heard of HNC's, HND's and NVQ's but im finding it hard to understand which would be the best, what they are equivalent to and what they consist of.

So the question is what do guys think are the best options and do you have any alternative ideas of what I can do? Thanks for reading this and happy new year to you all
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Euskadi
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Hi mate,

First of all, happy new year to you too

I'm new here and was just browsing around the forums but thought I'd answer anyway. I completed the same qualification as you at around the same time and now I'm currently doing a Higher Apprenticeship. The company originally set me out to do a HNC but as my apprenticeship is designed for me to become a maintenance engineer, my manager thought it wouldn't benefit me and so the company took me off and have now put me on to an NVQ level 3.

An NVQ is mainly practical work, gaining on the job experience and facing problems that you may have learnt about while studying your BTEC. NVQ's usually go hand in hand with the BTEC because one gives you the theory knowledge while the other gives practical. The HNC & HND is again more theory knowledge.

In my opinion, it really depends on what path you want to follow in the future to decide what you want to do next. It seems to me that people that follow the NVQ path tend be more of a hands on engineer e.g. maintenance, tool making etc. where as people who follow the HNC and HND paths tend to open more opportunities to careers like design engineers, quality engineers etc. Although I may be completely wrong, but I'm just speaking from a limited experience and from other engineers I know and what jobs they do. Plus, there's no saying that you can't complete your NVQ and then go on to do your HNC and HND which is what my plan is also.

Hope this has been a little helpful for you,
cheers!
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Helloworld_95
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The cost of going to uni isn't actually that bad (unless you get minimal maintenance loan and your parents are stingy, then yeah you might have some problems coming up with £12-16k). You're not paying ~£50k upfront, really you're paying a 9% tax on income over £21,000, and of course that tax is a lot smaller than the difference in earnings you'd likely have if you didn't complete the degree.

Degree apprenticeships are definitely worth applying for, you never know if you'll get one until you apply. Going to uni the normal route is fine too and while you do end up with that extra tax you also end up with more options than if you did a degree apprenticeship as degree apprenticeships tend to be more specialised towards what that company wants you to do. HNCs and HNDs are a similar situation to degree apprenticeships although you just don't end up with as advanced a qualification and thus you also end up with the consequences of that too.
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JackHazard
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(Original post by Euskadi)
Hi mate,

First of all, happy new year to you too

I'm new here and was just browsing around the forums but thought I'd answer anyway. I completed the same qualification as you at around the same time and now I'm currently doing a Higher Apprenticeship. The company originally set me out to do a HNC but as my apprenticeship is designed for me to become a maintenance engineer, my manager thought it wouldn't benefit me and so the company took me off and have now put me on to an NVQ level 3.

An NVQ is mainly practical work, gaining on the job experience and facing problems that you may have learnt about while studying your BTEC. NVQ's usually go hand in hand with the BTEC because one gives you the theory knowledge while the other gives practical. The HNC & HND is again more theory knowledge.

In my opinion, it really depends on what path you want to follow in the future to decide what you want to do next. It seems to me that people that follow the NVQ path tend be more of a hands on engineer e.g. maintenance, tool making etc. where as people who follow the HNC and HND paths tend to open more opportunities to careers like design engineers, quality engineers etc. Although I may be completely wrong, but I'm just speaking from a limited experience and from other engineers I know and what jobs they do. Plus, there's no saying that you can't complete your NVQ and then go on to do your HNC and HND which is what my plan is also.

Hope this has been a little helpful for you,
cheers!
Hi mate Thanks a lot for the reply, really appreciate it! After looking at what you said and some more searching around I think I'm going to go with a HND. I think this would suit me better than uni and I can always do the extra year to get a degree. Trouble is there is only one college that is close enough to be commutable for me and thats still fairly far away. Really want to save money and still live at home :/ Cheers again 😊
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JackHazard
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(Original post by Helloworld_95)
The cost of going to uni isn't actually that bad (unless you get minimal maintenance loan and your parents are stingy, then yeah you might have some problems coming up with £12-16k). You're not paying ~£50k upfront, really you're paying a 9% tax on income over £21,000, and of course that tax is a lot smaller than the difference in earnings you'd likely have if you didn't complete the degree.

Degree apprenticeships are definitely worth applying for, you never know if you'll get one until you apply. Going to uni the normal route is fine too and while you do end up with that extra tax you also end up with more options than if you did a degree apprenticeship as degree apprenticeships tend to be more specialised towards what that company wants you to do. HNCs and HNDs are a similar situation to degree apprenticeships although you just don't end up with as advanced a qualification and thus you also end up with the consequences of that too.
I get what you're saying about the cost. But tbh Im not sure I'm ready to go straight to uni having taken 2 years out. Think I'm going to go with a hnd as it will get me back in the swing of things and I can allways do a top up degree anyway

Thanks for replying 😊
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