The Student Room Group

Can you get a job in engineering with a HNC?

Hi everyone. I've just finished a HNC in electrical and electronic engineering, getting a distinction. I'm starting to wonder if it was a waste of time though. Every job I've looked at seems to require me to have done an apprenticeship, but I haven't done an apprenticeship and have no experience in the field. Does anyone have any ideas about what I can do going forward?
Reply 1
Original post by amw512
Hi everyone. I've just finished a HNC in electrical and electronic engineering, getting a distinction. I'm starting to wonder if it was a waste of time though. Every job I've looked at seems to require me to have done an apprenticeship, but I haven't done an apprenticeship and have no experience in the field. Does anyone have any ideas about what I can do going forward?
Hiya

You could do a degree apprenticeship, but I'm not too familiar with that process myself so I can't comment. The apprentices we have in the company I work for are all mechanical engineering ones.

Any reasons you don't want to go to Uni for a BEng degree? Having HNC allows you to progress to Year 2.
You can then do a year in industry (internship) between your 2nd and 3rd year which will make you a great catch for any company by the time you graduate. Or you could do HND and then just do 1 final year at a Uni for BEng.
To me it seems going for a degree is a quicker path to progress in your future career, especially in such a technical field such as elec engineering.

Anyway, have a look around here - https://www.gradcracker.com/
I found gradcracker to be the best place to search for early career opportunities in STEM. I did that myself when I was looking for internships and is what I used for elec eng graduate jobs too, so I can recommend.

p.s. I understand people may be put off by Uni fees, but you can get a student loan and that will accelerate your career progress compared to apprenticeships. At least that's what I'd seen with the apprentices we have in the company I work for. All of them would've been in professional roles by now if they opted for a top up degree to at least a BEng level, but neither wanted to do that for some reason, so it's been 3-4 years since they've completed their apprenticeships and neither of them are on engineering professional level (and pay grade) yet despite them being fantastic technical workers otherwise.

Anyway, let me know if you have any questions. I've graduated with BEng in EEE a few years back and now in position where I hire STEM interns and graduates for a large corporation, so I may offer some advice.

All the best,
Al
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 2
Original post by ThatguyAl
Hiya
You could do a degree apprenticeship, but I'm not too familiar with that process myself so I can't comment. The apprentices we have in the company I work for are all mechanical engineering ones.
Any reasons you don't want to go to Uni for a BEng degree? Having HNC allows you to progress to Year 2.
You can then do a year in industry (internship) between your 2nd and 3rd year which will make you a great catch for any company by the time you graduate. Or you could do HND and then just do 1 final year at a Uni for BEng.
To me it seems going for a degree is a quicker path to progress in your future career, especially in such a technical field such as elec engineering.
Anyway, have a look around here - https://www.gradcracker.com/
I found gradcracker to be the best place to search for early career opportunities in STEM. I did that myself when I was looking for internships and is what I used for elec eng graduate jobs too, so I can recommend.
p.s. I understand people may be put off by Uni fees, but you can get a student loan and that will accelerate your career progress compared to apprenticeships. At least that's what I'd seen with the apprentices we have in the company I work for. All of them would've been in professional roles by now if they opted for a top up degree to at least a BEng level, but neither wanted to do that for some reason, so it's been 3-4 years since they've completed their apprenticeships and neither of them are on engineering professional level (and pay grade) yet despite them being fantastic technical workers otherwise.
Anyway, let me know if you have any questions. I've graduated with BEng in EEE a few years back and now in position where I hire STEM interns and graduates for a large corporation, so I may offer some advice.
All the best,
Al

Hi there. So, I already have a degree in English language (useless!) but was able to get funding for a HNC in engineering because there is a special rule that you can get funding for a second degree/ second set of higher education qualifications in STEM if you do it part-time. So, I could continue onto a university course, and would receive a tuition loan and possibly even some maintenance loan, but it would have to be part-time. That's why I'm reluctant to continue onto a university course. It would take too long!
Reply 3
Original post by amw512
Hi there. So, I already have a degree in English language (useless!) but was able to get funding for a HNC in engineering because there is a special rule that you can get funding for a second degree/ second set of higher education qualifications in STEM if you do it part-time. So, I could continue onto a university course, and would receive a tuition loan and possibly even some maintenance loan, but it would have to be part-time. That's why I'm reluctant to continue onto a university course. It would take too long!

I see, yeah that makes sense. In that case it's probably worth looking for a degree apprenticeship. They take a few years, but at least that's an option to get into a career in STEM as well as get paid whilst doing so without having to go to Uni.
Again, I'm not too familiar with that route, so do your own research and have a look around the gradcracker website to see what companies offer such paths. They'll normally list the requirements too, such as 5 GCSEs grade A*-C/4-9 (or equivalent) including Maths, English and a minimum of 240/96 UCAS points, or equivalent (copy pasted from this page https://www.baesystems.com/en/careers/careers-in-the-uk/apprenticeships/degree ).
Reply 4
Original post by ThatguyAl
I see, yeah that makes sense. In that case it's probably worth looking for a degree apprenticeship. They take a few years, but at least that's an option to get into a career in STEM as well as get paid whilst doing so without having to go to Uni.
Again, I'm not too familiar with that route, so do your own research and have a look around the gradcracker website to see what companies offer such paths. They'll normally list the requirements too, such as 5 GCSEs grade A*-C/4-9 (or equivalent) including Maths, English and a minimum of 240/96 UCAS points, or equivalent (copy pasted from this page https://www.baesystems.com/en/careers/careers-in-the-uk/apprenticeships/degree ).

I have another question for you, since you're a recruiter. I've been doing a masters degree online with the University of Colorado. If I do that, will it matter to employers that I don't have an undergraduate degree?
Reply 5
Original post by amw512
I have another question for you, since you're a recruiter. I've been doing a masters degree online with the University of Colorado. If I do that, will it matter to employers that I don't have an undergraduate degree?

You should be fine as long as the degree is accredited by an engineering institution. I don't know what's that in the US, but the UK they are accredited by institutions like IET and IMechE, through the British Engineering Council -https://www.engc.org.uk/
Reply 6
Original post by ThatguyAl
You should be fine as long as the degree is accredited by an engineering institution. I don't know what's that in the US, but the UK they are accredited by institutions like IET and IMechE, through the British Engineering Council -https://www.engc.org.uk/

Interesting. What if I just get a graduate certificate, not the full master's?
Reply 7
Original post by amw512
Interesting. What if I just get a graduate certificate, not the full master's?

I've never seen an applicant with these, but according to what I could find online, the grad certificate means the course was shorter, worth less credits and there is no requirement for a dissertation. It's also an online course, which is a little off putting to me since Engineering is a very hands on profession, except if you go for Computer Science where all you do is code all day, then that's fine, but then you'll need to prove you can actually write decent code.
In either case, what you have is a degree in English, a course in STEM and HNC in Elec Eng, compare that to a full Bachelors or even Masters degree and you'll see how disadvantaged you may be compared to the rest of the competition.
As I said earlier if I could I'd go to Uni and get my degree done as it should, but if you can't or don'w want to then better to go for a degree apprenticeship. The other option could be applying for industrial placements and internships and seeing if you can get in. Once you're in the company you can then talk to your managers and get some development support to prepare you for graduate level job responsibilities. it's quite possible, although heavily depends on the company, which is why it's very important to talk about all this on an interview.
Reply 8
Original post by ThatguyAl
I've never seen an applicant with these, but according to what I could find online, the grad certificate means the course was shorter, worth less credits and there is no requirement for a dissertation. It's also an online course, which is a little off putting to me since Engineering is a very hands on profession, except if you go for Computer Science where all you do is code all day, then that's fine, but then you'll need to prove you can actually write decent code.
In either case, what you have is a degree in English, a course in STEM and HNC in Elec Eng, compare that to a full Bachelors or even Masters degree and you'll see how disadvantaged you may be compared to the rest of the competition.
As I said earlier if I could I'd go to Uni and get my degree done as it should, but if you can't or don'w want to then better to go for a degree apprenticeship. The other option could be applying for industrial placements and internships and seeing if you can get in. Once you're in the company you can then talk to your managers and get some development support to prepare you for graduate level job responsibilities. it's quite possible, although heavily depends on the company, which is why it's very important to talk about all this on an interview.

OK. Thanks for your answer. I suppose I'd better either go to uni or get that master's degree online then.

Quick Reply

Latest