Studying for an HNC in Mechanical Engineering, Dean Hargreaves is a prime example of how BTEC can help people make continuous progress in their careers. Following his initial apprenticeship, Dean convinced his employer that moving forward in his studies to take on an HNC in Mechanical Engineering would benefit the company as well as himself.

“Dean is an outstanding student in so many ways,” says Karen Whiteside, Programme Leader at Blackpool and The Fylde College. “He is dedicated to his studies and despite working full time, he has 100% attendance and 100% punctuality. He puts so much time and effort into every task he is given, achieving distinction grades in almost all the subjects whilst holding down a demanding engineering job.” Many of his lecturers comment on Dean’s determination, work ethic, commitment and professional attitude: “The way he deals with difficulties and milestones is very professional and reflected. He is always open to dialogue, never hesitating to ask questions, often adopting a critical approach. Dean is a very deserving engineer and a professional,” says Project Management Lecturer, Margarita Georgieva.

Combining work with study has enabled Dean to bring knowledge and experience gained onto the job into the classroom and vice versa. Margarita says: “Dean contributed much to the dynamics of the class with his contributions that linked to examples from real-life practice. He was able to relate the theory to practical applications, which was a valuable learning opportunity for his peers.”

While Dean says: “I like to use what I have learned in real life situations. For example, I enjoy being able to take the newly learned equations and calculations back into work and use these in real life situations. The knowledge I have gained has even allowed me to offer advice and support to other engineers within the company. The knowledge gained from this BTEC course has also benefitted me when it comes to the testing required before production takes place.”

BTEC has allowed Dean to progress dramatically in his career over the past 18 months, from a Technical Support Engineer to a Service Manager, and he says he isn’t finished yet. “I started for Allan J Hargreaves Plant Engineers having just completed my ND in Mechanisation. From a very young, unskilled engineer at the time, I have now been promoted to a Service Manager role managing at least 50 staff since starting the HNC course. This ladder to progression has been far from easy, however I have given it my all and I am very fortunate that in the end it has paid off. I now want to continue with my education part time in order to keep up with an ever-evolving industry and the new technologies that it brings.”